Dean's Message

 

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Where do the greatest ideas come from? There’s no formula for innovation, but here are two elements that seem to help. First, bring together people who have deep curiosity and expertise in fundamental subjects. Then provide these experts opportunities to step outside their primary pursuits, either by collaborating with others or by pushing their research into new areas.

The articles in this issue of EQuad News illustrate the fruits that such cross-pollination can bear. When Matt Salganik, a faculty member in Princeton’s sociology department, had ideas for harnessing the power of the Internet for social science research, he turned to engineers at the Center for Information Technology Policy to develop the idea­­—resulting in the tool described on page 10. Now it’s your turn to participate by using that tool to submit and vote on your own ideas about new technologies the world needs—turn to the article to find out how.

In Project X (page 12), faculty members receive funding to pursue bold ideas, even if that means stepping well outside their proven expertise.

Twelve years ago, a similar spirit of innovation inspired former dean of engineering Jim Wei to recruit Ed Zschau ’61 to Princeton to create his wildly popular “High-Tech Entrepreneurship” course. That spirit continues with the recent announcement of the James Wei Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship (page 20) and an array of entrepreneurial activities.

I hope you will visit us at www.princeton.edu/engineering to stay in touch and explore further the powerful results that come from combining expertise, collaboration, and the drive to use science and technology to improve the world.

 

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H. Vincent Poor *77
Dean
Michael Henry Strater University
Professor of Electrical Engineering

 

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