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Nobels Should Celebrate Invention and Optimization

Walden C. Rhines
10/14/2014 03:55 PM EDT

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rick merritt
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Re: Celebrate
rick merritt   10/17/2014 2:16:53 PM
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This is a great lens for how popular culture sees technology popularizers like Steve Jobs as the great innovators but misses the many technology inventors on whose shoulders he stood.

Wally: I guess you see this twice as a co-inventor of the blue LED and as a CEO of an EDA company, the sector at the bottom of the inverted pyramid of electronics.

Snausage
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Re: Celebrate
Snausage   10/16/2014 1:21:06 PM
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Honorable mention to the optimizer, for without the inventor there would be nothing to optimize.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Celebrate
junko.yoshida   10/16/2014 11:57:50 AM
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This piece captures the essence of the age-long debate over the inventor vs. the optimizer. And it also brings such clarity to the issue, with perfectly good examples. Thanks, Wally.

I find it a bit similar to the debate on basic science vs. applied science.

Having grown up in Japan, I remember that Japanese engineering community has been often criticized for putting too much focus on applications, not doing enough of the fundamental R&D. Meanwhile, the U.S. has led the fundamental R&D for years. 

Naturally, we need both inventors and optimizers. The Nobel committe, not having paid enough attention and respect to the development of fundamental LEDs, was clearly an error on their part.  

 

 

 

BillJewell
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Re: Celebrate
BillJewell   10/16/2014 11:26:04 AM
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It is a shame that the Nobel committee takes so long to honor inventors. Jack Kilby invented the IC in 1958. He received his Nobel prize in 2000, 42 years later! Was the Nobel committee waiting to see if this integrated circuit thing would catch on? As you stated Robert Noyce (who died in 1990) probably would have shared the Nobel prize with Kilby if Noyce had still been alive.

wallyrhines
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Re: Celebrate
wallyrhines   10/16/2014 10:54:14 AM
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Maybe so.  But would the Honorable Mention go to the inventor or the optimizer.  In the case of Jack Kilby's invention and demonstration of the integrated circuit, I suspect that both he and Robert Noyce would have been recognized equally.  Noyce's planar process made integrated circuits manufacturable in high volume at low cost.  In the case of the blue LED, there might be some Honorable Mentions given but I think that Maruska, at least, for building the first working blue LED with magnesium-doped gallium nitride would have been among the principal awardees.

Snausage
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Celebrate
Snausage   10/15/2014 11:40:05 AM
Maybe there should be another category called Honorable Mention to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of others  time and research.

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