Applied Physics Lab - APL - Combat Systems Evaluation Lab (image courtesy of APL, www.jhuapl.com)
ur innovative drives our economy, our culture, and our lives. Consider living without the internet, an informal communications mechanism created by America’s research scientists and engineers at DARPA [the Defense Research Projects Agency]; or Velcro, that ubiquitous fastener, created for NASA to facilitate the gloves of astronauts. Our visionaries developed new structural components made from carbon with the strength of steel, to lighten military equipment but retain the strength, now replace iron and steel, and increase fuel efficiency. Today’s car computer is more powerful and sophisticated than the one used to power the trip to the moon 40 years ago; it’s another NASA by-product which increases fuel and operating efficiency. Our iPods, iPhones, Bluetooths, Wiis, and X-Boxes have revolutionized entertainment and communications, while our advances in computers push technological capacity to the limits. Twenty years ago, a terabyte was enough storage capacity to store all the books in the Library of Congress; today, many personal computers have two terabytes installed – and are almost full. Innovators, geniuses, and entrepreneurs from all over the world come here because it is the nexus of intellectual freedom and the consummate environment for self-fulfillment. We marvel at the new products we see appearing around the world, but, many are drawn from ideas, sketches and drawings registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office. Every month, planeloads of researchers, scientists, and lawyers arrive from the Far East and Europe as clients of some of DC’s top law firms to capitalize on the intellectual properties created by American visionaries. Revolutionary new products are incubated by the federal and state governments in the role of intellectual engine of growth. They issue a technical requirement, and thousands of entrepreneurs compete to win the contract with a new technique, new software, or new devices - like fiber optics or flash memory, or cell phones that outmode all the predecessors. Local governments like Montgomery County’s Research and Technology Center and Northern Virginia’s Center for Information Technology capitalize on the concentration of university, government, and private sector research and development centers. Maryland’s I-270 Technology Corridor hosts 300,000 workers and 18,000 information and bio-technology businesses such as home-grown global companies like Lockheed Martin, Human Genome Sciences, Digene, Medimune, and GeneLogic. Federal research centers include the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Standards, and the Department of Energy. Visionary, but little-known research and development facilities such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, use emerging and innovative technologies to pursue biology’s most challenging problems. Ciena and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory push technology to the outer limits. The Dulles Technology Corridor in Northern Virginia, an international “NetPlex” and home to more telecom and satellite companies than any other place on earth, hosts telecommunications, networking, web-hosting, data-storage farms, R&D centers, and development-oriented companies; it hosts more than half of all traffic on the Internet and is also the home of the cutting-edge “Nano-Technology” – microscopic device physics or molecular self-assembly which will revolutionize energy, medicine and global economics. ...Benjamin Franklin would be amazed, but not surprised.
Best of DC
Published on Mar 1, 2009
Published on Mar 1, 2009
Welcome to the BEST OF DC: ‘Defining Change’ in American Leadership. This Inaugural Edition is the very first interactive publication of its...