David Edwards (engineer)

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David A. Edwards is a writer, inventor, and Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Idea Translation at Harvard University,[1] He is the founder of Le Laboratoire, an experimental art and design center where artists and scientists collaborate in Central Paris.[2] and Cambridge Massachusetts, and of ArtScience: Culture Lab & Cafe, an innovation restaurant near MIT.

Research and Invention[edit]

Edwards' invention and scientific work has developed from his early work on the research and development of advanced new drug delivery platforms for noninvasive delivery of proteins, and treating infectious diseases in the developing world, to his more recent work on new food forms and sensory innovations. He has published many scientific papers and two textbooks in the areas of applied mathematics and advanced transport analysis. He is a founder of Advanced Inhalation Research, or AIR, purchased by Alkermes, Inc. and later spun out as Civitas, of Pulmatrix, and of Medicine in Need, an international non-governmental organization aimed at developing new drugs and vaccines for diseases of poverty, such as tuberculosis.34 Spinning out of his culture lab, Le Laboratoire, are his companies Incredible Foods, oNotes and Sensory Cloud, as well as ArtScience. Edwards is the co-founder of the World Frontiers Forum, which unites global thought leaders with pioneering creators across frontiers from machine learning to contemporary art to promote innovation that progresses the human condition — and co-founder with Bridgitt Evans (VIA Art Fund) of the Frontier Art Prize, whose first winners were the contemporary artists Doug Aitken (2017) and Tavares Strachan (2018).

Art and fiction[edit]

Edwards' artistic work includes two founding books of Le Laboratoire. His essay Artscience: Creativity in the Post-Google Generation (2008, Harvard University Press) describes the nature of the creativity catalyst at the frontier of what is conventionally viewed as art and science, the artscience innovation. His novel Niche (Editions Le Laboratoire and École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, 2007), on which he has collaborated with the American novelist Jay Cantor and the photographer Daniel Faust, explores the conceptual bases of Le Laboratoire's creation. In his most recent book, Creating Things that Matter, Edwards explores a new approach to creating things that endure, in the lives of leading artists, scientists, designers, chefs and technologists - and argues for an aesthetic approach to innovating that merges art and science.

Academic biography[edit]

Edwards studied chemical engineering at Michigan Technological University as an undergraduate, receiving a B.S. in 1983, and going on to a Ph.D. in 1987 in the same subject from the Illinois Institute of Technology. After a brief postdoctorate and lecturership at the Technion in Israel, he taught for four years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and for three more at Pennsylvania State University before leaving academia in 1998 to found Advanced Inhalation Research. In 2002, he was hired as the McKay Professor of the Practice at Harvard.[3] He is a member of the Editorial Board for Current Biology.[4]

Awards and honors[edit]

Edwards was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2001[5] and to the French National Academy of Engineering in 2008. He was made a Chevalier of arts and culture by the French Ministry of Culture in 2009 and was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2016. Edwards has also been honored three times by the American Pharmaceutical Association with their Ebert Prize, and has won the Jerusalem Fund's Theodor Herzl Award, the European Aerosol Association's Smoluchowski Award, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Professional Progress Award.[1] In 2007, he was awarded the Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction by his alma mater Michigan Tech, its highest honor.[6]



  • Artscience: Creativity in the Post-Google Generation (Harvard University Press, 2008)
  • The Lab: Creativity and Culture (Harvard University Press, 2010)
  • Creating Things That Matter: The Art and Science of Innovations That Last (Henry Holt & Company, 2018)


  • Niche (Editions Le Laboratoire, 2008)
  • Whiff (Editions Le Laboratoire, 2009)


  1. ^ a b Faculty profile, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  2. ^ Edwards aux mains pleines d’argent, Libération, October 15, 2007.
  3. ^ Biography from Edwards' web site.
  4. ^ "Editorial Board: Current Biology".
  5. ^ NAE citation: "For transfer of scientific principles of engineering to industry, including invention and commercial development of a novel, generic aerosol drug-delivery system.".
  6. ^ Harvard's David A. Edwards, Ph.D., honored at Commencement, Department of Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University.

External links[edit]