Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rosa Parks Play

Naomi's PreSchool class did a play about Rosa Parks today.  Here is Naomi describing the play.

And here is how the play turned out.

Half the Sky is both a brutal awakening and an unmistakable call to action. -Melinda Gates

Our friend Amber Vandermeulen, a third grade teacher in the Kent school system, said that she and her husband had just read Half the Sky to one another on their last road-trip and she thought I might like it.  Knowing nothing about it, I cracked it open.  ...everything was forever changed.
Half the Sky is a collection of stories about heros, written by Pulitzer prize winning NY Times columnists and authors,  Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  The two are married and often write that treasured breed of articles....the kind that are full of facts that once heard, leave you seeing things that were invisible before. 

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. -Helen Keller

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. - Helen Keller

Both a brutal awakening and an unmistakable call to action, this book should be read by all. - Melinda Gates

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Bringing science to Science Fiction"

Larry Dalton
In 2000, Larry Dalton came over to the tower apartment to share his idea of creating a Research Center for "Materials Science and Devices" that would bring together material scientists from across the country to solve the hardest and most exciting modern problems.  The National Science Foundation was launching a new program called "Science and Technology Centers."(STC)  They aimed to make America more competitive by funding research institutions to work together for common goals.  Larry jumped at the opportunity.  He and Alvin Kwiram applied and in 2002 the NSF STC was funded and I went on the advisory board.  It was called CMDITR which stood for the unwieldy, Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research.   

Jeanne Small
Nine years have passed, the lead directors, Larry Dalton, Phil Reed and Jeanne Small and I sat down together over coffee and the first thing Larry said was, "I think we brought some Science to Science Fiction, don't you?   ...What's next?"  We reviewed the accomplishments to date:
  • 229 patents filed and 32 awarded.
  • 42 of those patents have been licensed to companies bringing in a total of $26.8 million from 43 companies.   
  • 7 start-ups, 2 of which have been acquired.   
  • $31 million has been received from private industry investors and 2 newly funded research centers have spun out.
  • Educational outreach events have continually grown, recently there was one with 3000 attendees.
  • Industrial partners have matched and are now exceeding the annual investment of $4M from the National Science Foundation.  
  • CMDITR’s ethics training modules have been adopted by over 91 user groups at dozens of institutions across the US.  The photonics wiki receives as many as 3000 visitors a month.
  • 19 educational videos on the what-why-and-how of researching have received 1600 views.
  • Highly organized and charismatic leadership and administration of this complex center. 
Phil Reed
There are other items I am in awe of,  such as the massive number of students now deeply committed to expanding the body of scientific knowledge, or the sophistication, growth and cohesion of each research department involved, but perhaps most of all, I can see how the center’s formidable accomplishments in diversity delivered across the board to their success as innovators. 

Although the "external" board, which is what we have evolved into, has negligible impact on CDMITR, it sure has been a thrill to be front and center watching the action!