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May 22, 2014

Cool, or simple and cheap? Why not both?

 

English: George Whitesides (Harvard University) describing the nature of nanoscience at the United States Department of Energy Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRC) Workshop, February 26-28, 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

George M. Whitesides is Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University. He received his A.B. from Harvard and his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology(with J. D. Roberts).

He was a faculty member of MIT from1963 to 1982 and has been at Harvard since 1982. He has been a part of the start-up team for a number of companies, and has served on advisory committees for a range of government agencies, both in [...]

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May 16, 2014

Push or Pull

Generally speaking, there are two types of research and development, those (1) driven by a technology push or (2) powered by a market pull. Academicians and politicians like to push while opportunists enjoy the pull.

A technology push is easy to identify. Often times these efforts are publicly funded, expensive and lengthy, and involve massive consortiums. Pushing demands lots of publicity and – in the long run – generates limited practical results.  A great example of a technology push is the moon race.

It was an amazing technological effort and on the American side it cost about a hundred billion taxpayer dollars, took over a decade, involved hundreds of thousands of [...]

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