Foresight Update 43

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A publication of the Foresight Institute

Foresight Update 43 - Table of Contents | Page1 | Page2 | Page3 | Page4 | Page5


Douglas Engelbart, Foresight Advisor, Is Awarded National Medal of Technology

Douglas EngelbartDouglas Engelbart, a pioneering researcher in personal computing and information systems and a key figure in the early development of the Internet, was awarded the 2000 National Medal of Technology by President Clinton at a black-tie, gala banquet in the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., on 1 December 2000.

Dr. Engelbart is a member of the Foresight Board of Advisors.

Dr. Engelbart was awarded the medal in the General Product & Process Innovation category, as the official citation noted, "For creating the foundations of personal computing including continuous real-time interaction based on cathode-ray tube displays and the mouse, hypertext linking, text editing, online journals, shared-screen teleconferencing, and remote collaborative work."

Dr. Engelbart was a major figure in the development of the personal computing revolution. During the 1960s, as Director of a laboratory at Stanford Research Institute, he and his staff created many of the concepts and tools of personal computing that we take for granted more than thirty years later, including multiple windowing, point-and-click interfaces, the mouse and fundamental hypertext concepts.

A brief biographical sketch describing Dr. Engelbart's work can be found on the web.

David Plotnikoff, writing in the San Jose Mercury News, said, "Engelbart is more than just a great technologist. He's a humanist who sees computer-assisted communications as just a means to achieving far loftier goals. What he envisioned more than 30 years ago was comprehensive systems that would augment human decision-making. The big picture, which he continued to flesh out over the years, boiled down to this: Better tools led to better collaboration processes, which in turn led to more innovation, better decisions and better organizations."

To find out more about Dr. Engelbart's current work, visit the web site of his Bootstrap Institute.

Dr. Engelbart's award marks the second year that a Foresight friend has received the National Medal of Technology. Last year, Ray Kurzweil was also honored. Dr. Kurzweil was the keynote speaker at the Eighth Foresight Conference On Molecular Nanotechnology, held in November, and is well-known within the Foresight community as the author of The Age of Spiritual Machines.

President Clinton awarded this year's National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology, the nation's highest science and technology honors, during the ceremony, which was hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Medals of Science and Technology Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce.

The National Medal of Technology is "to recognize technological innovators who have made lasting contributions to enhancing America's competitiveness and standard of living" and whose solid science results in "commercially successful products and services." Established by Congress in 1980 and administered by the Department of Commerce, it recognizes technological innovation and advancement of the nation's global competitiveness, as well as ground-breaking contributions that commercialize a technology, create jobs, improve productivity, or stimulate the nation's growth and development in other ways.

Foresight Update 43 - Table of Contents


Zyvex Corporation Appoints Vice President of Research

Zyvex Corporation announced on 30 October that Dr. C. Grady Roberts has joined the company as Vice President of Research.

Dr. Roberts, who is internationally recognized for his work in imaging and semiconductor devices, had been consulting in high technology components and systems areas and for start-up companies. Throughout his career, he has led the development of new businesses, products and technologies.

Roberts retired from Raytheon last year after a long career in management at Raytheon and Texas Instruments. He was most recently Technical Director of Raytheon's Sensors and Electronics Systems, and previously Director of the Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits Lab. At Texas Instruments, he was Director of the Systems Components Laboratory, doing microwave ICs, photonics, nanoelectronics, and MEMS. Before that, he was general manager of the Electro-Optics Technologies department.

Jim Von Ehr, President and CEO of Zyvex, said, "I'm pleased to have a person of Grady's stature join our team. With his years of management and research experience, coupled with the excellent team of research scientists already on staff, I'm confident we will achieve our nanotechnology goals."

Roberts, commenting on the new position, said "I'm very excited to be associated with Zyvex. It has the vision, leadership, talent and commitment to expand scientific and technological frontiers and to make significant contributions to society through innovative capabilities and products."

Dr. Roberts has authored or co-authored nine patents, presented numerous technical papers and is an elected Fellow of the Military Sensors Symposia. He earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Applied Physics and his Master of Science in Applied Physics from Stanford University. He earned his Master of Science degree in Solid State Physics from Southern Methodist University, and his Bachelor of Arts in Physics and Math from Texas Christian University.

A short biography of Dr. Roberts appears on the Zyvex website.

Foresight Update 43 - Table of Contents


California Launches Major Nanotechnology Research Initiative

New California NanoSystems Institute will receive $100 million in funding over four years

California Gov. Gray Davis, via satellite, announces the establishment of the California NanoSystems Institute.

California Governor Gray Davis announced on 7 December 2000 the selection of the California NanoSystems Institute — a wide-ranging research enterprise poised to make a major impact in areas ranging from information technology to medical treatment — as one of the three research efforts statewide to receive $100 million in state support to help propel the future of the state's economy.

A joint enterprise of UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) was one of three proposals selected for support over the next four years under Gov. Davis' California Institutes for Science and Innovation (CISI) program. Project Director for the CNSI proposal was UCLA professor James Heath, co-winner of this year's Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Experimental). Heath will serve as one of the Institute's two scientific co-directors.

The institutions created by the program are intended to increase the competitiveness of the state's economy by focusing on technology challenges in many fields. The program will foster joint ventures between the campuses of the University of California system, as well as partners from private industry. Gov. Davis announced the selection of the three scientific proposals to chancellors at San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego systems by satellite. "Sometimes my critics have accused me of not thinking big," Davis said. "I think today, at least, I've answered the call."

California's CISI program will create a new R&D juggernaut with partners in academia, private industry and government that dwarfs all similar efforts in other parts of the country. The entire CISI program will be underwritten by $300 million in state funds over four years. Gov. Davis has committed to provide $25 million per year in support to each of the three institutes, with each institute committed to raising $2 from other sources for every $1 received from the state. University of California President Richard Atkinson has asked more than 200 companies to participate in the program by contributing money or resources to the institutes.

Given the strong level of support already shown, the CISI programs are likely to bring over $1 billion to the combined effort. Indeed, with an estimated funding of about $240 million over four years, the CNSI will be second only to the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative in size and scope.

Scientists worldwide are on the brink of a new revolution at the nanoscale, with breakthroughs occurring at the atomic level. CNSI will explore the power and potential of manipulating structures atom-by-atom to engineer new materials, devices and systems that will dramatically change virtually every aspect of our technology, creating new ways to manufacture products, advance information technology, transform the practice of medicine, and provide innovations for the environment. Expected to be a leader in this race, the California nanosystems effort has already attracted nearly 30 corporate partners.

"The California NanoSystems Institute will bring the research communities of UCLA and UC Santa Barbara together with business and industry to create the technologies of California's future," said UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale. "Future generations in California and the world will benefit from the discovery and innovation pioneered by this unique enterprise."

"We are deeply grateful to Governor Davis for his wisdom in initiating such a bold and visionary program. We are also indebted to President Atkinson for his leadership and guidance," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "The Institute will draw on the interdisciplinary strengths of our two campuses, and on our common vision that developments in the science and technology of nanosystems will be the basis for revolutionary advances in fields as diverse as computation, health-care technology, and multimedia art and entertainment. These advances will help fuel our economy and profoundly improve the quality of life in our society over the next decade and beyond."

Martha Krebs, former assistant secretary of energy and former director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, will become the Institute's founding director. She believes the establishment of the Institute will position California to build on its national leadership in federal research programs.

"The excitement of nanosystems research is that it will capitalize on insights and advances across many disciplines," Krebs said. "The challenge for our Institute is to create and sustain the many partnerships needed to carry out nanosystems research — among disciplines, between our two campuses, and with our industry and national laboratory colleagues."

The Institute will be founded on existing strengths at both UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. With major new buildings on both campuses, the program envisions CNSI will be the premier place in the world for academic, industrial, and national lab researchers working on nanosystems. The research efforts will be complementary, but also collaborative. The centers will be linked by common management, a single graduate student recruiting/education program, and shared user facilities.

Most of the state tax dollars pledged to the CISI institutions will be used to construct campus buildings and laboratories and get them started, so much of the operating money will need to come from partnerships with private industry. According to a UCLA press release, CNSI already has agreements with nearly 30 companies that have pledged nearly $50 million in support for the enterprise, ranging from information technology giants like Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems to smaller, specialized biotechnology firms like Sequenom and Ceres.

"We see in the California NanoSystems Institute a tremendous potential of leveraging academic and industrial expertise to tackle the pressing and broad-ranging research challenges posed by nanosystems," said Dick Lampman, vice president of research for the Hewlett-Packard Co. "Indeed, we view the establishment of the California NanoSystems Institute as an exceptional opportunity to build together the nanoscience and nanotechnology infrastructure in California that will be so important to our future."

"The ability to engineer and control materials at the nanometer scale gives us the opportunity to create entirely new materials with properties that would uniquely suit them for specific applications," said Evelyn Hu, a UC Santa Barbara professor of electrical and computer engineering and materials who is scientific co-director of the Institute. "As nature does, we can optimize the operation and performance of the system by engineering the performance of the nanostructure components, making materials that are more optically efficient, more environmentally friendly, or more durable."

Nanosystems also seeks to create a new way of manufacturing products by mimicking the building process found in nature. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, manufacturing has been based on taking raw materials and shaping them into a product, usually by whittling down a large mass into a smaller, usable one. But nanosystems seeks to replace that process by creating products that are created from the bottom-up, with a molecular-level precision, to achieve materials and devices that have characteristics well beyond what can be manufactured today.

"Bottom-up or biologically-inspired fabrication is at the heart of nanotechnology," said James Heath, a UCLA chemistry professor who is the Institute's other scientific co-director. "This approach to manufacturing has huge ramifications, and will transform nearly all industries, from high technology to transportation to medicine."

The other two institutes Gov. Davis selected for funding are:

Additional information:

Press coverage:

Foresight Update 43 - Table of Contents | Page1 | Page2 | Page3 | Page4 | Page5

From Foresight Update 43, originally published 30 December 2000.