Speaker: Thomas Rockwell Mackie, Emeritus Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Abstract: Academic physicists and the others in physical sciences have been important contributors for decades of ideas for commerce, including those resulting in new Wisconsin companies. Academic entrepreneurship enriches teaching, research, and is inherently service to the communities in which physics departments exist, the nation and even the world. There is a great difference between academic and commercial culture that must be understood to be successful and cultural differences will be highlighted throughout the lecture and will begin by describing the motivation, ideation, and creation of a physicist-entrepreneur, Albert Einstein, about a century ago. Particle accelerator developments during the 20th century provide examples of the cross-talk between academic physics and the medical industry. The 20th century being the Physics Century is highlighted by the story of the rise of the planet’s major entrepreneurial hub, Silicon Valley, surrounding Stanford. The rise of entrepreneurial biotechnology is heralding in the 21st century as the Biology Century, but there are still many exciting opportunities for products and services based on physics and biophysics yet to come.