R&D Stars to Watch

Dec. 21, 2004
Baruch S. Blumberg, biochemist and director, NASA's Astrobiology Institute (NAI), Moffett Field, Calif. Blumberg is leading NAI's research efforts to discover microorganisms and primitive evidence of lifelike matter in hostile environments such as Death Valley, Antarctica, volcanoes, oceans, and neighboring planets and satellites, and to study the probability that they exist elsewhere in the universe. Matthew Brand, researcher, Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, Cambridge, Mass. Formerly affiliated with MIT's Media Lab, Brand studies mathematical approaches to learning and perception with a focus on computer systems that understand and interpret three-dimensional reality. His work is being used to create "digital puppets" that could be used in film making. Sydney Brenner, president, Molecular Sciences Institute, Berkeley, Calif. A key player in shaping the Genomic Era, Brenner initiated genome decoding with his roundworm studies in the 1960s. He also is known for his work with fellow genetic-code pioneer Francis Crick. A previous Lasker Award winner, Brenner recently developed a technique for analyzing large sets of DNA. Curt I. Civin, professor of pediatrics and oncology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Civin received the 26th annual National Inventor of the Year Award from the Intellectual Property Owners Assn. for inventing a monoclonal antibody that binds to a substance on human stem cells, mainly used to aid in bone marrow transplants. His work also included a biomedical process to isolate the stem cell component of the blood immune system. Melissa Douglas, principal member of the technical staff, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque. For her work in plasma physics Douglas received the 1999 Early Achievement Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). She helped design configurations for Sandia's Z machine that provides information about nuclear explosions, astronomical data, and nuclear fusion. Paul R. Ehrlich, professor of population studies, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. A researcher and activist for a broad range of environmental concerns including overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, biodiversity, pollution, and global warming, Ehrlich recently published Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect (2000, Island Press). Among Ehrlich's many honors is the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (given in lieu of a Nobel Prize in disciplines where Nobels are not given). Thomas J. Fogarty, professor of surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, Calif. For his inventions and innovation in minimally invasive surgery Fogarty received the Lemelson-MIT Prize this year. His definitive invention, the Fogarty Embolectomy Catheter, has been followed by other lifesaving medical devices. Fogarty is the founder or cofounder of more than 25 small medical-product-manufacturing start-ups. David Gelernter, professor of computer science, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Gelernter's research interests include adaptive parallelism, programming environments for parallelism, real-time data fusion, expert databases, and information-management systems. In a recent essay Gelernter explains how a single company's dominance, such as Microsoft Corp.'s, will diminish when data and computer processing are spread across millions of interconnected computers. Anatole V. Gershman, partner and global director, technology research, Andersen Consulting, Northbrook, Ill. As head of Andersen's research and development organization, Gershman leads the company in its efforts to assess unproven technologies and develop prototypes to create new business opportunities for electronic commerce, knowledge management, human perform-ance, and the virtual enterprise. John W. Gillespie Jr., technical director of the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials, Newark, Del. Gillespie recently was honored by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for his work in diffusion-enhanced adhesion and co-injection resin transfer molding, which are used in tandem for the manufacture of reduced-weight, multifunctional materials. Brian Greene, professor of mathematics and physics, Columbia University, New York. Greene's area of expertise, string theory, attempts to explain the origin, evolution, and existence of the universe as being based on tiny string-like loops. He brought string theory to the attention of the general population in The Elegant Universe (1999, W.W. Norton & Co). Irene Greif, director of research, Lotus Development Corp., Cambridge, Mass. Greif is an expert in how people work with each other using computers and is the founder of the field of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, the basis of Lotus Notes. She also was instrumental in the development of Domino, Lotus' Web-based collaborative technology, and Sametime, Lotus' real-time communications software. Helen Greiner, president, iRobot Corp., Somerville, Mass. Greiner, formerly a researcher at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, cofounded iRobot (formerly IS Robotics) to develop robots and supply developers with an industry-standard platform for robotic applications. Greiner has been honored as one of the World Economic Forum's Global Leaders of Tomorrow. Leland Hartwell, president and director, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle. Hartwell has conducted extensive research in cell division and has provided new evidence about cancer cells. He discovered cellular "checkpoints" that are responsible for correcting errors in chromosomes and other cellular components during cell division. He is a recipient of the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. James Heath, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles. A leader in the field of nanotechnology, Heath and fellow researchers from Hewlett-Packard Co. and the University of California, Berkeley, are studying how to chemically synthesize a computer. He and his colleagues R. Stanley Williams and Philip Kuekes of HP this year won the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for their development of a molecular switch. John L. Hennessy, president, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. The new Stanford executive taught at the university for 22 years and initiated research that let to the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture that revolutionized computing. Coauthor of two textbooks that are used internationally, he cofounded MIPS Computer Systems, now known as MIPS Technologies, which specializes in microprocessor production. Darleane C. Hoffman, professor emeritus of chemistry and senior scientist, University of California, Berkeley. An expert on the nuclear and radio chemistry of the heaviest elements and discoverer of plutonium-244 in nature, Hoffman won the President's National Medal of Science in 1997 and the Priestly Medal this year. Her work has clarified the limits of nuclear stability, critical to the storage and isolation of radioactive waste. Jennie Hwang, president and CEO, H-Technologies Group Inc., Cleveland. An authority in the fields of solder and surface-mount technology, Hwang created H-Technologies to provide solutions to the electronics/microelectronics interconnection industry. Hwang has been named to the National Academy of Engineering and the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. David Johnson, head of the Bell Labs Metallurgy and Ceramics Research Dept., Lucent Technologies Inc., Murray Hill, N.J. Holder of 38 patents, Johnson has won awards for his work in ceramics, including, with his Lucent colleague John MacChesney, the International Ceramics Prize 2000 for contributions to sol-gel technology and its industrial application in optical communications. Steve Kirsh, founder, Propel Corp., Santa Clara, Calif. Kirsh is launching Propel, his fourth company, as a provider of standard e-commerce software in a versatile Java-compatible programming language. The company also will do Web development and site hosting. His previous ventures include Mouse Systems Corp., Frame Technology Corp., and Infoseek Corp. John MacChesney, Bell Labs fellow, Lucent Technologies Inc., Murray Hill, N.J. A major contributor to telecommunications research, MacChesney's modified chemical vapor deposition (MCVD) process has become a world standard in optical-fiber manufacturing. In 1999 he received the National Academy of Engineering's Charles Stark Draper Prize for MCVD. John Main, professor of mechanical engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington. Main received an Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation to support his research in lightweight polymer mirrors for use in space telescopes. The mirrors are able to pick up light from extremely distant stars that have been undetectable with conventional telescopes. Steve Mann, professor, University of Toronto. As a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mann created a wearable computing system (WearComp) that is considered the seed for MIT's Wearable Computing Project. He also created a camera and display concealed in ordinary eyeglasses, which he used to film his award-winning documentary Shooting Back. Gail K. Naughton, president and COO, Advanced Tissue Sciences Inc., La Jolla, Calif. The Intellectual Property Owners Assn. recognized Naughton with the 27th annual National Inventor of the Year Award for her development of a process to produce human organs for transplantation. The process is primarily being applied to recreate human skin for burn victims, but also has potential application in treating diabetic foot ulcers, replacing cartilage, and repairing damaged heart muscle. Alan R. Rabinowitz, director, science and exploration, Wildlife Conservation Society, New York. Rabinowitz has led expeditions to explore uncharted regions of Southeast Asia where he has discovered new species of mammals. He also has set up programs to study and preserve these newly found species and their habitats. Wim Sweldens, director, scientific computing research, Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies Inc., Murray Hill, N.J. A leading proponent of a mathematical tool called wavelets, Sweldens is applying his research to add a new dimension to the Internet. He is creating algorithms and software that will compress three-dimensional models so that they can be scanned and stored and eventually shared and manipulated on the Web. Ralph Taylor-Smith, chemical engineer, Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies Inc., Murray Hill, N.J. Taylor-Smith leads research on application-specific nanostructured materials. On the macroscale his work focuses on "green" manufacturing, specifically process design-for-environment. R. Stanley Williams, senior principal laboratory scientist, Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif. As director of HP's Quantum Structures Research Initiative, Williams leads efforts in molecular-scale electronics, which holds promise for vast improvements in computing power efficiency. Williams and his HP colleague Philip Kuekes and James Heath of UCLA won the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for their development of a molecular switch. Beth Barovian, Lisa Hofmann, and Eric Merfalen contributed to this article.

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