Monday, October 20, 2014 - 12:15pm to 2:00pm
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Room 100F, Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford Street

STS Circle at Harvard

Venkatesh Narayanamurti (Harvard, SEAS) on "Bridging the Basic-Applied Dichotomy and the Cycle of Discovery and Invention"

Lunch is provided if you RSVP. Please RSVP via our online form before Thursday morning, October 16.

Abstract: In this talk I will reflect on the genesis of the Information and Communications revolution and through an analysis of the hard case of Nobel Prizes in Physics to show that the causal direction of scientific discovery and radical invention are often reversed. They often arose in a culture of so called “applications oriented research” in industrial laboratories and will use those examples to enumerate the key ingredients of highly successful R&D institutions. My views have been shaped by my own personal experiences in industrial research, U.S National Laboratories and research intensive universities. I will discuss the need for institutions which transcend the “basic-applied dichotomy” and which bring research across domains into deeper congress. The need for new integrative institutions to address global challenges such as climate change and alternative energy sources will be discussed.
Biography: Venkatesh Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy and a Professor of Physics at Harvard. He is also the Director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).  He currently also serves as the Foreign Secretary of the U.S National Academy of Engineering.  From 1998 to 2008, he served as Dean of Division and then School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. During 2003 to 2006, he was concurrently Dean of Physical Sciences. He spent much of his scientific career at Bell Laboratories, where he became Director of Solid State Electronics Research in 1981. He has served on numerous advisory boards of the federal government, research universities, and industry.

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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