Professor Michael E. Webber’s @EnergyHistory gives you a daily dose of energy. The Webber Energy Group, a UT mechanical engineering research group headed by Webber, director of the Energy Institute,, started a new Twitter project called “Today in Energy History.” Run by Webber’s group and the UT Energy Institute, the account tweets daily about historical events relevant to energy.
Webber said the purpose of the Twitter account is to educate the public on important energy events in an engaging way.
“Also, it is an excuse to give me more fun facts I can use with my teaching,” mechanical engineering professor Webber said.
Supply chain management junior Hannah Fawcett, who works at the Webber Energy Group, assists in running the account. Fawcett said random fun facts about energy are always an interesting conversation starter for the team. She also echoed Webber’s comments, stating that energy plays a massive role in our lives but is regularly under-appreciated.
“Oftentimes they (the tweets) can spark some pretty interesting conversations or even lead to heated debates,” Fawcett said. “We hope to make people more aware of events in energy history that have impacted the world around us today.”
A quick glance at the feed reveals the scope of the news which are significant to energy history, which involve inventions, private companies, policy changes and international relations. Webber said this is a reflection of the pervasiveness of energy-related happenings throughout academic spheres, professional fields and daily life.
“In my opinion, energy is critical to our daily lives,” Webber said. “Even seemingly unrelated headlines … are interconnected with energy.”
He said an example is the Saudi Arabian consulate killing this month. Webber said the international predicament and its outcome could affect energy markets as Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter. He said that @EnergyHistory, highlighting the significance of historical energy events, may ultimately allow followers to understand the far-reaching implications of current events like this.
“By putting energy events front and center in people’s minds, its connections with their lives will start to sink in,” Webber said.
Outside of providing historical background, “Today in Energy History” also celebrates birthdays of significant scientists. Webber said he loves waking up to a tweet showcasing the birthday of an energy pioneer.
“I think really big ones are birthdays for the key intellectuals and historical figures … Maxwell, Edison, Joule, Watt … they changed the world,” Webber said.