| New Jersey
tours SEAS laboratories
New Jersey Governor Christine
Todd Whitman visited the School of Engineering and Applied Science
recently as part of a week-long focus on technology in New Jersey.
Gov. Whitman toured research laboratories in the Center for
Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials (POEM) and viewed technology
displays sponsored by Princeton researchers and private companies.
Professor of Electrical Engineering Keren Bergman, left,
discusses fiber optics with New Jersey Governor Christine
POEM was chosen by the Governor's Office for a visit because
it represents the fruit of a collaboration among the university,
state government, and private industry.
POEM was founded with financial contributions from Princeton
University and bond funds from the New Jersey Commission on
Science and Technology. POEM's research is sponsored by private
industry and the center receives royalties as technology it
develops is licensed for commercial use.
Research by POEM faculty and graduate students has resulted
in profitable collaborations with private firms, including the
Sarnoff Corp., Lucent Technologies, and Sensors Unlimited. In
1997 POEM generated more than $5 million in sponsored research
and accounted for more than one third of the University's "invention
disclosures," the first step in the patent application.
Gov. Whitman toured two laboratories: those of Professor Bede
Liu and Assistant Professor Keren Bergman.
In Professor Liu's laboratory, Multimedia Research in Education,
the governor watched demonstrations by four New Jersey school
teachers showing some of the classroom benefits of multimedia.
Dr. Bergman demonstrated applications of high speed optical
network switching in her laboratory, Laser Systems for High
Bandwidth Internet. She described to Gov. Whitman a laser capable
of downloading the entire contents of the Library of Congress
in a few milliseconds.
"The science and technology I'm seeing is mind-boggling," Gov.
Whitman said. "It makes me want to go back to school, because
I feel like I have missed a lot."
Technical displays, representing Princeton researchers and industry
affiliates, filled the atrium of the E-Quad.
Gov. Whitman participated in several experiments, including
the making of high-tech vanilla ice cream with liquid nitrogen.
That particular experiment, a favorite of Electrical Engineering
Professor Stephen Lyon, is part of an outreach program
for children in kindergarten through grade 12.
"The most important message I think Gov. Whitman can get today
is something that I have seen change over my 20 years in the
high technology field," said James Sturm '79, professor
of electrical engineering and director of POEM.
"High technology has become a more pervasive force in today's
society and as technology has become more pervasive, scientists
and engineers themselves have changed.
"Rather than cloistering themselves and speaking mostly to each
other, scientists and engineers have increasingly reached out
from the university walls to the community and also to industry
at large. Today, we see lots of collaborative projects and these
are things that didn't happen 15 years ago. Industry is now
viewed as an integral partner in our programs and research."
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