John Harthorne, the founder and CEO of MassChallenge and a member of IDEAS Boston’s Advisory Board, has been named one of the 2013 Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Ten Outstanding Young Leaders (TOYL). Harthorne and the other winners will be honored at a reception on June 25 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.
2004 IDEAS Boston speaker Rodney Brooks was recognized in The Boston Globe 100’s anniversary issue list of the top 12 innovators of 2013. This group was singled out for their trailblazing work in a variety of fields and for the originality and impact of their work.
2004 IDEAS Boston Speaker, Geneticist, and and Molecular Biologist Eric Lander has been awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Founded by Art Levinson, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri Milner, the The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences recognizes excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. Eleven scientists received $3 million awards last Wednesday.
Lander tells The Boston Globe he plans to use some of the award money to turn material from his free online introductory biology class into useful material for high school classrooms.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Author and 2004 IDEAS Boston Speaker Tracy Kidder will talk about his new book, Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction, at the Boston Public Library on January 31 at 6 p.m. In an interview with The Boston Globe, Kidder talked about the books he’s reading now, the books he avoids, and how serving in Vietnam affected him as a reader. Kidder won his Pulitzer Prize for his second book, The Soul of a New Machine.
The Boston Globe has produced a video on 2004 IDEAS Boston Speaker Tod Machover‘s process for his latest work, “A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City.” To create the work, commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Machover asked people to submit the sounds they associate with the city. In person and via Skype, he also asked people to describe the city so that he could incorporate their ideas into the piece. The symphony will be premiered in Toronto on March 9.
President Barack Obama has named MIT Professor Robert Langer, co-founder of InVivo Therapeutics Corporation and a 2004 IDEAS Boston speaker, one of the winners of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Langer is one of 23 researchers to receive the honor and one of only three Americans to have won both the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
Several other IDEAS Boston speakers have also been in the news in the last few weeks.
- The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Huntington Theatre Company $245,000 so that Huntington Playwriting Fellow and 2005 IDEAS Boston Speaker Melinda Lopez can join the company’s full-time staff as playwright-in-residence. According to the article on BroadwayWorld.com, Lopez will start her residency on July 1.
- The Boston Business Journal reports Danvers-based CyPhy Works, founded by 2009 IDEAS Boston Speaker Helen Greiner, has unveiled two small unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The Extreme Access System for Entry (EASE) is an indoor flying robot to help police, soldiers, and inspectors remain at safe standoff distances. The Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) is designed to fly vertically and hover for a long time without an operator intervening.
- Zipcar Founder and 2005 IDEAS Boston Speaker Robin Chase was featured on WBUR’s Visionaries series on December 21. On Wednesday, January 2, Avis Budget Group announced it was buying Zipcar for nearly $500m.
Author, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who spoke at the 2004 IDEAS Boston conference, has a new book, where he asks readers to treat intelligent non-humans as equivalents to human beings.
The Boston Globe reviewed HOW TO CREATE A MIND: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed on Saturday, December 8.
The review reads, in part:
“Much of his latest book focuses on trying to persuade readers to abandon long-held beliefs about the unique value of the human mind (or soul, though that doesn’t come up much). ‘Biological substrates are wonderful — they have gotten us very far,’ Kurzweil writes, ‘but we are creating a more capable and durable substrate for very good reasons.’”
Watson, the artificial intelligence entity that faced off against human opponents on Jeopardy!, is also mentioned in the book. Kurzweil was one of Watson’s creators.
David DeSteno, a social emotions researcher who was part of this year’s IDEAS Boston at UMass Boston lineup, has some thoughts about gratitude this Thanksgiving week.
In an column published in The Boston Sunday Globe, DeSteno writes about how he has found in his lab at Northeastern University that people who have felt gratitude toward someone in the past are more likely to return the favor and help a benefactor in need.
DeSteno encourages readers to “embrace the gratitude; feel it as deeply as you can, because in so doing, you’re actually increasing the odds that a year from now, we’ll all have more for which to be grateful. On the deepest, unconscious level, gratitude is really about being grateful for the actions that are yet to come.”