For the past 50 plus years, since WWII, the invention of the transistor, and the development of the IC, electronic technology and its associated disciplines and applications have been the driver of the economy and the darling of science and university research.
But this may be changing. This week, Columbia University in New York announced a $200 million gift to establish a science center, where “science” here means to study the brain and human behavior.
Consider these other facts: Dr. David Baltimore, the president of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a Nobel-prize winner in biology. Dr. Susan Hockfield, the new president of MIT, is a leading neuroscientist. MIT recently opened its Ray and Maria Stata Center for Computer Science—but right across the street, they are building an even larger building for life and cognitive sciences.
So, are these trends at leading engineering schools a sign of things to come? Or are they just indications that electronic and computer engineering are now supported by a large and vibrant industry, while universities are always looking for the sources of new money and buzz? Or is something else happening?
Just thinking and wondering…..