Not everyone can become (or desires to become) a physics professor or even a professional physicist. A physics education is very valuable because we live in a technological society where there is opportunity to apply this education in business and public life. With a physics education it is possible to identify many technological areas of opportunity, as well as to understand issues that affect society as a whole, sometimes on a global basis. Both Bob and Tom have used their Berkeley physics degrees in different ways outside of academe, yet both feel connected to physics, to our Physics Department and to the University.
Bob will discuss key aspects of high tech industry today. How do market opportunities and technology intersect? How is a critical mass of talent assembled? Who foots the bill? And, perhaps of most relevance to the audience, how does an education in physics help (or hinder?) one in pursuing a high tech career?
Tom will discuss assisting inventors. Sole inventors and small companies are alive and well. A key factor in innovations is for scientists and inventors, as well as attorneys and others, to keep an open mind to various questions and be able to freely speak and publish. Sometimes large research organizations and the government make research areas “politically incorrect”, as with cold fusion research and prion research. Is the “intelligent design” case in the recent Katzmiller v. Dover School Board decision another such area? What are the risks in categorizing areas of inquiry?