Nathan Myhrvold

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Nathan Myhrvold
Nathan Myhrvold.jpg
Nathan Myhrvold, March 8, 2007
Born (1959-08-03) August 3, 1959 (age 59)
Seattle, Washington
Alma mater UCLA (B.S., M.S.)
Princeton University (M.S., Ph.D.)
Scientific career
Institutions Intellectual Ventures, University of Cambridge, Microsoft Research
Website www.nathanmyhrvold.com

Nathan Paul Myhrvold (born August 3, 1959), formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, is co-founder of Intellectual Ventures and the principal author of Modernist Cuisine and its successor books. Myhrvold was listed as co-inventor on 17[1] U.S. patents at Microsoft and is co-inventor on over 750 other U.S. patents issued to his corporation and its affiliates.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Myhrvold was born in Seattle, Washington. He attended Mirman School[3] and Santa Monica High School, graduating in 1974,[4] and began college at age 14.[5] He studied mathematics, geophysics, and space physics at UCLA (B.Sc., 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 Ph.D. 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.

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 in a variety of executive positions, culminating in his appointment as the company's first chief technology officer in 1996.[8] At Microsoft he founded Microsoft Research in 1991.[9]

Intellectual Ventures[edit]

After Microsoft, in 2000 Myhrvold co-founded Intellectual Ventures,[10] a patent portfolio developer and broker in the areas of technology and energy, which has acquired over 30,000 patents.[11] Intellectual Ventures exploits the market for inventions and patents, buying patents from companies and 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. Startup companies spun out of IV, including Kymeta, Echodyne, and TerraPower, have developed commercial products from IV's inventions. Through its Global Good unit, which Myhrvold founded in collaboration with Bill Gates, IV has also invented and produced commercial products, such as improved vaccine coolers and milking cans, aimed at low-income markets in Africa and Asia.[12] However, in most cases, IV's inventions are limited to the descriptions provided in their patents, which are bundled into portfolios for licensing.

Myhrvold has described his goal for Intellectual Ventures as helping to create a market for patent-backed securities.[13] The company's business practices have caused controversy, however, with some deprecating the firm as a patent troll.[14] Myhrvold has publicly defended his firm's practices, arguing that they foster innovation by serving as a marketplace for intellectual property. He has noted that many of the largest companies in Silicon Valley, including Google, Apple, and Facebook, have also bought large patent portfolios and used litigation to protect them, but he has criticized them as focusing too much on creating "tools or toys for rich people."[15]

Nuclear power[edit]

Myhrvold is vice chairman of TerraPower, a spin-out of Intellectual Ventures that is developing a new kind of nuclear reactor, known as a traveling-wave reactor, that is designed to be safer, cheaper, and cleaner than current nuclear power plants. In 2017, the company launched a joint venture with the China National Nuclear Corporation to build and operate a prototype reactor of this kind in Hebei province.[16]

Science[edit]

In addition to his business activities, Myhrvold is a working scientist who has published original, peer-reviewed research in the fields of paleobiology,[17] climate science,[18] and astronomy.[19] A prize-winning nature and wildlife photographer, 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,[20] Nature,[21] Paleobiology,[22] PLOS One,[23] and the Physical Review,[24] as well as in Fortune, Time, Scientific American,[25][26] 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, which was envisioned to be the most powerful instrument for SETI.[27]

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 was on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, from May 10, 2008 to January 31, 2016 and currently resides in the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory.[28][29][30][31][32]

In research presented at scientific conferences and published in the astronomy journal Icarus, Myhrvold has been a vocal critic of procedures and results about asteroid diameters published by the NEOWISE team.[19][33][34][35][36] A preprint of his work on the subject[37] received wide press coverage[38][39][40] prompting a public statement by NASA.[41]

Cooking[edit]

Fistful of liquid nitrogen; Nathan Myhrvold magical science dinner

While working as chief technology officer at Microsoft, Myhrvold took leave to earn his culinary diploma from École de Cuisine La Varenne in France.[15] 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.[42] Myhrvold is the principal author of a culinary text entitled Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking,[43] released in March 2011, on the application of scientific research principles and new techniques and technology to cooking.[44] That book, which earned a James Beard Foundation Award for "cookbook of the year" in 2012, was followed by the books Modernist Cuisine at Home,[45] The Photography of Modernist Cuisine,[46] and Modernist Bread: The Art and Science,[47] all self-published by Myhrvold and with him as lead author. Myhrvold was part of a team that won first place at the world barbecue championships in Memphis.[15] He has appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef.

Advocacy[edit]

In interviews with CNN, SuperFreakonomics author Stephen Dubner, and Scientific American, Myhrvold has discussed ways to reverse some of the effects of global warming/climate change by using geoengineering.[48] Myhrvold and other inventors working with Intellectual Ventures have proposed several approaches, including one that would use hoses, suspended from helium balloons 25 kilometers (16 mi) above the Earth at high latitudes, to emit sulfur dioxide, which is known to scatter light.[49][50] Another approach would stimulate the formation and brightening of marine clouds to reflect more sunlight back into space.[48]

Controversy[edit]

In the popular press, Myhrvold and Intellectual Ventures have been repeatedly accused of acting as patent trolls and stifling innovation by buying patents and then forcing inventors to license their ideas by means of litigation. Walt Mossberg interviewed Myhrvold about Intellectual Ventures' role as a "patent troll" during the 10th annual All Things Digital conference.[51] This American Life's Laura Sydell ran an investigative story about patent trolling and Intellectual Ventures' role in that business.[52]

According to The New York Times, Intellectual Ventures at one point controlled nearly 70,000 intellectual property assets (patents and patents pending) that it has used to generate approximately $3 billion in revenues, primarily in the form of license fees from large corporations. The company responds that it has returned more than $500 million to individual inventors and most of the remaining revenues to its investors.[53]

Affiliations and awards[edit]

Myhrvold received the James Beard Foundation Award for cookbook of the year in 2012[54] and an honorary degree from The Culinary Institute of America in 2013[55] for his book Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. His book Modernist Bread received a James Beard Foundation book award in 2018[56]. In 2010, Myhrvold was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top 100 global thinkers.[57] He was selected as the keynote speaker for the UCLA College commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 12, 2015.[58] In 2013, Myhrvold was a judge for the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. Princeton University awarded him the James Madison Medal in 2005.[59]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Search for Myhrvold's Microsoft patents - use search argument in Query box: APT/1 and IN/Myhrvold-Nathan$ and AN/Microsoft and APD/1/1/1985->1/1/2000
  2. ^ Search for Myhrvold's non-Microsoft issued U.S. patents - use search argument in Query box: APT/1 and IN/Myhrvold-Nathan$ andnot AN/Microsoft
  3. ^ "Where Bright Minds Can Shine", Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2000
  4. ^ "Honored Vikings". Hall of Fame - Samohi Alumni Association. 
  5. ^ Oversight Testimony Archived February 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. “Patent Quality and Improvement” before the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, House Committee on the Judiciary, United States Congress, April 28, 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 Realigns Product Groups, Creates Chief Technology Officer; Enhances Focus on Internet, Interactive Media and Future Technologies". Microsoft Press Release. 1996-10-29. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  9. ^ "Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold Takes Leave of Absence". Press Release (Press release). Microsoft. June 1, 1999. Retrieved Janiaru 5, 2018.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ "Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures" (PDF). Retrieved September 15, 2008.  Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2008
  11. ^ Harris, Mark (May 16, 2010). "Green Pioneers: Godfather of nutty inventions". The Times. London. Retrieved June 2, 2010.  Mark Harris, The Sunday Times, May 16, 2010
  12. ^ Cheney, Catherine (2016-11-22). "With help from Bill Gates, this lab is reinventing its approach to invention". Devex. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  13. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan (March 16, 2010). "The Big Idea: Funding Eureka!". Harvard Business Review. Cambridge. Retrieved October 21, 2012.  Nathan Myhrvold, Intellectual Ventures, March 2010
  14. ^ "This American Life: When Patents Attack". July 24, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2011.  Ira Glass, NPR, July 24, 2011
  15. ^ a b c Renton, Alex (2015-01-26). "Nathan Myhrvold, myth buster". 1843 (The Economist). Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  16. ^ Stapczynski, Stephen (2017-09-21). "China Becoming Testing Ground for New Breed of Nuclear Reactors". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  17. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan P. (2013-12-16). "Revisiting the Estimation of Dinosaur Growth Rates". PLOS One. 8 (12): e81917. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...881917M. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081917. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3864909Freely accessible. PMID 24358133. 
  18. ^ Caldeira, K.; Myhrvold, N. P. (2013). "Projections of the pace of warming following an abrupt increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration". Environmental Research Letters. 8 (3): 034039. Bibcode:2013ERL.....8c4039C. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034039. ISSN 1748-9326. 
  19. ^ a b Myhrvold, Nathan (2018). "Asteroid thermal modeling in the presence of reflected sunlight". Icarus. 303: 91–113. Bibcode:2018Icar..303...91M. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.12.024. 
  20. ^ Myhrvold, N. (1998). "ESSAYS ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY: Supporting Science". Science. 282 (5389): 621–622. Bibcode:1998Sci...282..621M. doi:10.1126/science.282.5389.621. 
  21. ^ 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. Bibcode:2000Natur.403..155B. doi:10.1038/35003103. PMID 10646588. 
  22. ^ Currie, Philip; Myhrvold, Nathan (1997). "Supersonic sauropods? Tail dynamics in the diplodocids". Paleobiology. 23 (4): 393–409. 
  23. ^ Horner, J. R.; Goodwin, M. B.; Myhrvold, N. (2011). Roopnarine, Peter, ed. "Dinosaur Census Reveals Abundant Tyrannosaurus and Rare Ontogenetic Stages in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian), Montana, USA". PLOS One. 6 (2): e16574. Bibcode:2011PLoSO...616574H. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016574. PMC 3036655Freely accessible. PMID 21347420. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan (2016). "Even Genius Needs a Benefactor". Scientific American. 314 (2): 11–11. Bibcode:2016SciAm.314b..11M. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0216-11. 
  26. ^ Gibbs, W. W.; Myhrvold, N. (2011). "A new spin on cooking". Scientific American. 304 (3): 23. Bibcode:2011SciAm.304c..23G. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0311-23a. PMID 21438483. 
  27. ^ "Technologists Paul G. Allen and Nathan P. Myhrvold announce $12.5 million in support for revolutionary new telescope". spaceref.com. August 1, 2000. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Computer History Museum unboxes a Babbage difference engine". Retrieved April 28, 2008. 
  29. ^ "The Computer History Museum Extends Its Exhibition of Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2". press release. Computer History Museum. March 31, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  30. ^ "The Babbage Engine exhibit at Computer History Museum". Retrieved April 7, 2011. 
  31. ^ Difference Engine Leaves Computer History Museum, Mark Moack, Mountain View Voice, January 28, 2016
  32. ^ Boyle, Alan (2016-09-11). "Inside the invention factory: Get a peek at Intellectual Ventures' lab". GeekWire. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  33. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan P. "An Empirical Examination of WISE/NEOWISE Asteroid Analyses and Results". Poster at the 49th Annual Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting, October 2017. https://dps2017-aas.ipostersessions.com/default.aspx?s=1D-29-3E-5C-5D-47-88-F8-6F-EA-4C-F1-63-B2-D1-89 Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  34. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan P. "An Empirical Examination of the NEOWISE Results and Data Analysis". Abstract of talk presented at the 229th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, January 5, 2017.https://aas.org/files/aas229-abstracts-pdf.pdfRetrieved January 6, 2018.
  35. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan (May 22, 2018). "An empirical examination of WISE/NEOWISE asteroid analysis and results". Icarus. Bibcode:2018Icar..314...64M. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2018.05.004. Retrieved June 14, 2018. 
  36. ^ Chang, Kenneth (June 14, 2018). "Asteroids and Adversaries: Challenging What NASA Knows About Space Rocks - Two years ago, NASA dismissed and mocked an amateur's criticisms of its asteroids database. Now Nathan Myhrvold is back, and his papers have passed peer review". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2018. 
  37. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan (2016-05-20). "Asteroid thermal modeling in the presence of reflected sunlight with an application to WISE/NEOWISE observational data". arXiv:1605.06490Freely accessible [astro-ph.EP]. 
  38. ^ Chang, Kenneth (2016-05-23). "How Big Are Those Killer Asteroids? A Critic Says NASA Doesn't Know". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  39. ^ Hand, Eric (2016-05-23). "Billionaire technologist accuses NASA asteroid mission of bad statistics". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  40. ^ Billings, Lee. "For Asteroid-Hunting Astronomers, Nathan Myhrvold Says the Sky Is Falling". Scientific American. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  41. ^ "NASA Response to Recent Paper on NEOWISE Asteroid Size Results". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  42. ^ "Edge profile". Retrieved May 10, 2007. 
  43. ^ Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet (2011). Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Bellevue, Washington: The Cooking Lab. ISBN 0982761007. OCLC 711381030. 
  44. ^ "Modernist Cuisine". Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  45. ^ Nathan Myhrvold, with Maxime Bilet (2012). Modernist Cuisine at Home. Bellevue, WA: The Cooking Lab. ISBN 0982761015. OCLC 794709458. 
  46. ^ Myhrvold, Nathan (2013). The Photography of Modernist Cuisine (First ed.). Bellevue, WA: The Cooking Lab. ISBN 0982761023. OCLC 844729041. 
  47. ^ Nathan Myhrvold, Francisco J. Migoya (2017). Modernist Bread: The Art and Science. Bellevue, WA: The Cooking Lab. ISBN 0982761058. OCLC 959037081. 
  48. ^ a b Mims, Christopher. ""Albedo Yachts" and Marine Clouds: A Cure for Climate Change?". Scientific American. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  49. ^ IntellectualVentures (2009-10-26), The Stratoshield "Hose to the Sky" Could Reverse Global Warming, retrieved 2018-01-06 
  50. ^ "Solving Global Warming with Nathan Myhrvold". CNN. 
  51. ^ "Nathan Myhrvold Full Session". 
  52. ^ "When Patents Attack!". 
  53. ^ Wyatt, Edward (2013-07-16). "Inventive, at Least in Court". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  54. ^ "2012 James Beard Foundation Book Awards" (PDF). The James Beard Foundation. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  55. ^ "Dr. Nathan Myhrvold Receives Honorary Degree from CIA". modernistcuisine.com. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  56. ^ "2018 James Beard Foundation Book Awards" (PDF). The James Beard Foundation. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  57. ^ "Foreign Policy's Second Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on March 8, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  58. ^ "2015 UCLA College Commencement Ceremony I 2pm". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 
  59. ^ "Myhrvold reflects on 'Magic of Invention'". Princeton University. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 

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]