Nathan Myhrvold

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nathan Myhrvold
Nathan Myhrvold.jpg
Nathan Myhrvold, March 8, 2007
Born (1959-08-03) August 3, 1959 (age 55)
Seattle, Washington
Institutions Intellectual Ventures, University of Cambridge, Microsoft Research
Alma mater UCLA (B.S., M.S.)
Princeton University (M.S., Ph.D.)
Website
www.NathanMyhrvold.com

Nathan Paul Myhrvold (born August 3, 1959), formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, is co-founder of Intellectual Ventures—one of the largest patent trolls in the world, as well as the principal author of Modernist Cuisine. Myhrvold was listed as co-inventor on 17[1] patents at Microsoft and has since co-sponsored applications for over 500 other patents for which his corporation is funding the patent monetization effort.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Myhrvold was born in Seattle, Washington. He attended Mirman School,[4] and began college at age 14.[5] He studied mathematics, geophysics, and space physics at UCLA (BSc, Masters). He was awarded a Hertz Foundation Fellowship for graduate study and studied at Princeton University, where he earned a master's degree in mathematical economics and completed a PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics.[6] He also attended Santa Monica College. For one year, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge working under Stephen Hawking (along with a number of other students).

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Myhrvold left Cambridge to co-found a computer startup in Oakland, California. The company, Dynamical Systems Research Inc., sought to produce Mondrian, a clone of IBM's TopView multitasking environment for DOS. Microsoft purchased DSR in 1986 for $1.5M.[7]

Myhrvold worked at Microsoft for 13 years. At Microsoft he founded Microsoft Research in 1991.[8]

Intellectual ventures[edit]

After Microsoft, in 2000 Myhrvold co-founded Intellectual Ventures,[9] a patent portfolio developer and broker in the areas of technology and energy, which has acquired over 30,000 patents.[10] Myhrvold allegedly owns approximately 40% of Intellectual Ventures Management Company, generating $20M-$40M annually in "management fees" for Myhrvold. Intellectual Ventures exploits the market for inventions and patents, buying patents from inventors under the assumption the patents will be more valuable in the future. IV also files patents through the work of a team of on-site inventors and thousands of other inventors within their network who respond to IV-created "Requests for Invention", although nothing from these labs has reached commercial use. It also buys patents from companies and inventors. In certain, limited, circumstances, IV reduces these inventions to practice. However, in most cases, IV's "inventions" are limited to the descriptions cited in their patent applications. IV then licenses the patents in patent-portfolios (bundles). IV purports to be assisting in the creation of a market for patent-backed securities.[11] The business practices of Intellectual Ventures have caused controversy and the company has been widely criticized for being a patent troll.[12] Myhrvold has publicly defended his firm's practices, arguing that they foster innovation by serving as a marketplace for intellectual property He noted in 2012 that many of the largest companies in Silicon Valley, including Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook, have also bought large patent portfolios to 'further their strategic game'.[13]

Nuclear power[edit]

TerraPower, a subsidiary of Intellectual Ventures, aims to develop a nuclear reactor that is "safe and cheap" as part of Bill Gates' strategy to reach the goal of zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.[14] Gates unveiled this plan at the TED 2010. The plant will run on natural or depleted uranium with the potential for 30 years without refuelling.

Science[edit]

Myhrvold is also a prize-winning nature and wildlife photographer and is a member of the USA Science and engineering Festival's Advisory Board. He has also been involved with paleontological research on expeditions with the Museum of the Rockies. His work has appeared in scientific journals including Science,[15] Nature,[16] Paleobiology[17] (With Philip J. Currie), PLOS ONE,[18] and the Physical Review,[19] as well as Fortune, Time, Scientific American,[20] National Geographic Traveler, and Slate. He and Peter Rinearson helped Bill Gates write The Road Ahead, a book about the future that reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 1995 and 1996. Myhrvold has contributed $1 million to the nonprofit SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA, for the development of the Allen Telescope Array, planned to be the world's most powerful radio telescope.

After the Science Museum in London successfully built the computing section of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine #2 in 1991, Myhrvold funded the construction of the output section, which performs both printing and stereotyping of calculated results. He also commissioned the construction of a second complete Difference Engine #2 for himself, which has been on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, since May 10, 2008.[21][22][23]

Cooking[edit]

In addition to his business and scientific interests, he is an amateur chef. Myhrvold's early culinary training was as an observer and unpaid apprentice at Rover's, one of Seattle's leading restaurants, with Chef Thierry Rautureau.[24] Myhrvold is the principal author of a culinary text entitled Modernist Cuisine, released in March 2011, on the application of scientific research principles and new techniques and technology to cooking.[25] He has also won first place at the Memphis barbecue championship and appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef.

Advocacy[edit]

On December 20, 2009, Myhrvold appeared on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS and discussed his patented idea to eliminate global warming/climate change using geoengineering. It involves using hoses suspended from helium balloons 25 kilometers (16 mi) above the Earth. The hoses would be placed near the North Pole and the South Pole and emit sulfur dioxide, which is known to scatter light. Myhrvold estimated that such a configuration could "easily dim the sun by one percent, and even do it in a way that wouldn't be visible.".[26] An evaluation of the potential negative impact of releasing large amounts of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere, which, when combined with water moisture ( H2O ) can produce sulfuric acid ( H2SO4 ) is needed. Significant environmental efforts aimed at scrubbing SO2 from automobile exhausts and coal-burning power plants over since the 1970s have been largely successful in eliminating acid rain as an environmental pollutant. Introducing large amounts of SO2 into the atmosphere could have very detrimental effects.

Affiliations and awards[edit]

Myhrvold is also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board[27]

In 2010, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top 100 global thinkers.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Search for Myhrvold's Microsoft patents - use search argument in Query box: IN/Myhrvold and AN/Microsoft
  2. ^ Search for Myhrvold's pending patent applications - use search argument in Query box: IN/Myhrvold-Nathan-P
  3. ^ Search for Myhrvold's non-Microsoft patents - use search argument in Query box: IN/Myhrvold-Nathan-P andnot AN/Microsoft
  4. ^ "Where Bright Minds Can Shine", Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, 22 November 2000
  5. ^ Oversight Testimony “Patent Quality and Improvement” before the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, House Committee on the Judiciary, United States Congress, 28 April 2005
  6. ^ Corcoran, E. (1993) Profile: Nathan P. Myhrvold – The Physicist as a Young Businessman, Scientific American 268(2), 34-35.
  7. ^ Roy A. Allan. A History of the Personal Computer: The People and the Technology. 
  8. ^ "Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold Takes Leave of Absence". PressPass (Press release). Microsoft. 1999-06-01. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  9. ^ "Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-15.  Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2008
  10. ^ Harris, Mark (2010-05-16). "Green Pioneers: Godfather of nutty inventions". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-06-02.  Mark Harris, The Sunday Times, May 16, 2010
  11. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan (2010-03-16). "The Big Idea: Funding Eureka!". Harvard Business Review (Cambridge). Retrieved 2012-10-21.  Nathan Myhrvold, Intellectual Ventures, March 2010
  12. ^ "This American Life: When Patents Attack". 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-07-25.  Ira Glass, NPR, July 24, 2011
  13. ^ "Nathan Myhrvold's Patent Investing Returns Are Still Lousy". Forbes. 2012-06-19. 
  14. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaF-fq2Zn7I&feature=relmfu Bill Gates on energy: Innovating to zero!
  15. ^ Myhrvold, N. (1998). "ESSAYS ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY: Supporting Science". Science 282 (5389): 621–622. doi:10.1126/science.282.5389.621.  edit
  16. ^ Barsbold, R.; Currie, P. J.; Myhrvold, N. P.; Osmólska, H.; Tsogtbaatar, K.; Watabe, M. (2000). "A pygostyle from a non-avian theropod". Nature 403 (6766): 155–156. doi:10.1038/35003103. PMID 10646588.  edit
  17. ^ Currie, Philip; Myhrvold, Nathan (1997). "Supersonic sauropods? Tail dynamics in the diplodocids". Paleobiology 23 (4): 393–409. 
  18. ^ Horner, J. R.; Goodwin, M. B.; Myhrvold, N. (2011). "Dinosaur Census Reveals Abundant Tyrannosaurus and Rare Ontogenetic Stages in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian), Montana, USA". In Roopnarine, Peter. PLoS ONE 6 (2): e16574. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016574. PMC 3036655. PMID 21347420.  edit
  19. ^ Myhrvold, N. (1983). "Runaway particle production in de Sitter space". Physical Review D 28 (10): 2439–2444. Bibcode:1983PhRvD..28.2439M. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.28.2439.  edit
  20. ^ Gibbs, W. W.; Myhrvold, N. (2011). "A new spin on cooking". Scientific American 304 (3): 23. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0311-23a. PMID 21438483.  edit
  21. ^ "Computer History Museum unboxes a Babbage difference engine". Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  22. ^ "The Computer History Museum Extends Its Exhibition of Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2". press release. Computer History Museum. March 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  23. ^ "The Babbage Engine exhibit at Computer History Museum". Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  24. ^ "Edge profile". Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  25. ^ "Modernist Cuisine". Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  26. ^ "Solving Global Warming with Nathan Myhrvold". CNN. 
  27. ^ Advisors. USA Science and Engineering Festival
  28. ^ "Foreign Policy's Second Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Auletta, Ken, "The Highwaymen", Harvest Books, 1998. ISBN 0-15-600573-5 — cf Chapter 17: The Microsoft Provocateur: Nathan Myhrvold, Bill Gates Corporate Gadfly.
  • Edstrom, Jennifer and Eller, Marlin, "Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft From The Inside: How The World's Richest Corporation Wields Its Power", Holt Paperbacks, 1999. ISBN 0-8050-5755-2

External links[edit]