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Invention Assembly Workshop

August 2003



Professor, School of Education
Harvard University

David Perkins received his Ph.D. in mathematics and artificial intelligence from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970. He joined the Harvard University faculty as a research associate in 1970 and is currently a senior professor of education. He was a founding member of Project Zero, a research and development group that (since 1968) has addressed many aspects of cognition and their application to educational challenges. Perkins co-directed the project for almost thirty years with his colleague Howard Gardner, and they both now serve as senior directors on a steering committee. He has conducted long-term programs of research and development in the areas of understanding, creativity, problem-solving, educational and organizational development, reasoning and the role of technology in education.

Perkins' research on creativity resulted in the book, The Mind's Best Work (Harvard University Press, 1981), a well-received examination of the psychology of creativity. His later book, The Eureka Effect (Norton, 2000), offered an analysis of the underlying logic of inventive thinking. He is also co-editor (with Robert Weber) of Inventive Minds: Creativity in Technology (Oxford University Press, 1992), a collection of articles by contemporary inventors, historians of technology and cognitive psychologists that discloses insights about the process of invention. He has authored several other books concerning education, intelligence and educational and organizational development.


Associate Professor of Technology, Culture and Communication
University of Virginia

W. Bernard Carlson teaches at the University of Virginia, with appointments in both the School of Engineering and the History Department. He received his doctorate in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. Carlson studies the role of technology and innovation in American business, and his research focuses on how inventors, engineers and managers used technology in the development of major firms between 1870 and 1920. Working with Michael E. Gorman, Carlson has also investigated the way inventors workæthe mental models, strategies and heuristics they use to generate new ideas-by using Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell as case studies.  Carlson has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, the Harvard Business School and the Dibner Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is co-editor of the MIT Press book series, Inside Technology: New Social and Historical Approaches to Technology. Carlson has published widely in the field of invention, including Innovation as a Social Process: Elihu Thomson and the Rise of General Electric, 1870-1900  (Cambridge University Press, 1991; paper reprint 2002). He is completing Technology in World History (Oxford University Press, 7 volumes), which surveys the role of technology in 18 different cultures. With support from the Sloan Foundation, Carlson is also currently writing a biography of the prominent inventor, Nikola Tesla.


Director, Lemelson-MIT Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Merton C. Flemings is Toyota Professor of Materials Processing emeritus at M.I.T., where he has been a member of the faculty since 1958. Flemings established the Materials Processing Center at M.I.T. in 1979 and was its first director. He served as Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 1982 to 1995, and from 1998 to 2001 as M.I.T. director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance, a major collaboration between M.I.T. and Singapore in distance engineering education and research. He is author or co-author of 300 papers, 26 patents and two books in the fields of solidification science and engineering, foundry technology, and materials processing. Flemings has received numerous awards and honors, including election to the National Academy of Engineering and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has worked closely with industry and industrial problems throughout his professional career. Flemings is Chairman of the Silk Road Project, a not-for-profit corporation devoted to fostering creativity and celebrating local cultures and global connections.


Professor of History and Physics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lillian Hoddeson specializes in the history of twentieth-century physics and technology. Her current research on scientific creativity and problem-solving draws on her training in physics (Ph.D., Columbia, 1966) and the history of science (Princeton, 1973-1975), as well as her earlier research on how children learn science, and her more recent studies in cognitive psychology at the University of Illinois. All her books-on the atomic bomb (Critical Assembly), solid-state physics (Out of the Crystal Maze), big science in particle physics (The Ring of the Frontier, The Birth of Particle Physics, Pions to Quarks, and The Rise of the Standard Model), the transistor (Crystal Fire), and the life and science of the double Nobel Prize winning physicist John Bardeen (True Genius)-deal with questions of creativity and invention in the production of science and technology. Her extensive use over the last thirty years of oral history interviews as a research tool and her regular graduate seminar on this subject have brought her deeply into questions of individual and collective memory, a subject she is pursuing presently in collaboration with psychologists in the context of a faculty seminar and undergraduate honors course.  She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois, in addition to a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow.


Research Professor
Tufts University

Raymond S. Nickerson received a Ph.D. in experimental psychology in 1965. He retired from Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. in 1991, where he had worked for 25 years as a research psychologist and in various management positions, including Senior Vice President and director of a division whose departments conducted research on artificial intelligence, control theory, distributed information systems, educational technology, experimental psychology, interactive systems, signal processing and speech processing.

Nickerson has researched various aspects of human memory and cognition. Currently, his focus is on probabilistic reasoning. His books include: The Teaching of Thinking (1985, Erlbaum), with David N. Perkins and Edward E. Smith; Using Computers: Human Factors in Information Systems (1986, MIT Press); Reflections on Reasoning (1986, Erlbaum); Technology in Education: Looking Toward 2020, (1988, Erlbaum), edited with Philip P. Zodhiates; and Cognition and Chance: The Psychology of Probabilistic Reasoning (in press, Erlbaum). He is also the founding editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. Nickerson is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the American Psychological Society, and the Society of Experimental Psychologists.


Presidential Professor, Linguistics and Education
University of New Mexico

Vera John-Steiner received her Ph.D. in social and developmental psychology from the University of Chicago in 1956. Her current research areas include psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, collaboration, creative thinking, bilingualism and feminist studies. She is author of Notebooks of the Mind: Explorations in Thinking (Oxford University Press, 1997), which won the William James Award, and Creative Collaboration (Oxford University Press, 2000). John-Steiner has participated in establishing the interdisciplinary program in Educational Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. She has lectured extensively in Europe, South America and Israel. Her most recent publications demonstrate her commitment to combine Vygotskian cultural-historical theory and contemporary feminist thinking.


Director, Center for Innovation in Product Development
Professor of the Practice of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Systems
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Christopher Magee received a Ph.D. in metallurgy and materials science from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.B.A. from Michigan State University. Among his areas of expertise are vehicle design, systems engineering, application of computer-aided engineering, and computer-aided design. The application of materials, vehicle crashworthiness, manufacturing-product interface and all aspects of the product development process, are also areas of significant personal experience and knowledge.

Prior to joining the faculty at M.I.T., Magee had 35 years of experience at Ford Motor Company. This ranged from early research and technology implementation work to executive positions in product developmentæ emphasizing vehicle systems and program initiation activities. He has lectured internationally on vehicle design and weight reduction, vehicle crash-worthiness, and safety. He has been a participant on major National Research Council studies, whose topics span design research to materials research. Magee is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of ASM and a Ford Technical Fellow.


Visiting Executive Professor
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Mark B. Myers' research interests include identifying emerging markets and technologies to enable growth in new and existing companies with special emphases on research, technology identification and selection, product development and technology competencies. Myers serves on the Science, Technology and Economic Policy Board of the National Research Council and currently co-chairs the National Research Council's study of "A Patent System for the 21st Century."  

Myers retired from the Xerox Corporation at the beginning of 2000, after a 37-year career in its research and development organizations. Myers was the senior vice president in charge of corporate research, advanced development, systems architecture, and corporate engineering from 1992 to 2000. His responsibilities included the corporate research centers: PARC in Palo Alto, CA; Webster Center for Research & Technology near Rochester, NY; Xerox Research Centre of Canada in Mississauga and Ontario; and the Xerox Research Centre of Europe in Cambridge, UK and Grenoble, France. During this period he was a member of the senior management committee in charge of the strategic direction setting of the company.

Myers is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion and has held adjunct and visiting faculty positions at the University of Rochester and at Stanford University. He received a Ph.D. degree in materials science from Pennsylvania State University in 1964 and was named an alumni fellow there in 1997. 


Independent Consultant
Founder, Virtual Worlds Group
Microsoft Research

Linda Stone held executive positions in high tech from 1986-2002. Stone played a key role in building Apple's multimedia marketplace from 1986-1993, helping to forge significant relationships between Apple and traditional creative media, such as book publishers. She is also credited for her strong contributions to building the multimedia developer community and for her visionary market development, evangelism and strategy. In her last year, Stone worked for Chairman and CEO, John Sculley, on a variety of special projects.

In 1993, Stone joined Microsoft Research under Sr. VP, Nathan Myhrvold.  She founded and served as Director of the Virtual Worlds Group (now, Social Computing Group). With a focus on improving online social interactions, Stone and her team studied and developed technologies that would work on a human level.  Stone was viewed as a leader and pioneer in the effort to create online communities. During this time, Stone also taught as an adjunct faculty at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

In 2000, CEO, Steve Ballmer tapped Stone for the newly created role, Corporate VP, Corporate and Industry Initiatives. Stone built a relationship between Microsoft and the World Economic Forum, and worked tirelessly on ambassador/ombudsman issues to create more constructive relationships between Microsoft and the industry. Stone initiated Microsoft's Visiting Speaker Series, hosting close to 100 speakers in two years. 

Stone serves on the board of the World Wildlife Fund, which focuses on species preservation and global threats, and the Regional Committee for FIRST, dedicated to inspiring young people in science and technology.

In 2002, Stone left Microsoft to write, speak and consult. She is currently working with Harvard Business School Press on a book regarding social cycles and their impact on business innovation, corporate culture, management practices, marketing and product development. Stone has been recognized by Upside Magazine as one of the "Upside 100 Leaders of the Digital Revolution," by Inventor's Digest Magazine as one of the "I.D. 40," and she was featured in John Brockman's book, THE DIGERATI, which described her as a visionary both within Microsoft and to the industry at large.


Professor, Department of Psychology
University of Chicago at Illinois

Stellan Ohlsson received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Stockholm, where he also studied the philosophy of science. During his student years, he developed a computer simulation model of spatial reasoning and worked on insight in problem solving. He held teaching and research positions both in Australia and Sweden before emigrating to the U.S. in 1983. Ohlsson collaborated with Patrick Langley at Carnegie-Mellon University on the development of a diagnostic module for intelligent tutoring systems, before moving to a full time research position at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) associated with the University of Pittsburgh in 1985. At LRDC Ohlsson worked on questions of learning and discovery in arithmetic and science. He developed a computer simulation model of learning from error, and continued his work on insight in problem solving in collaboration with Jonathan Schooler. He was promoted to Senior Scientist in 1992.

Ohlsson moved to the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1996, where he is currently Professor of Psychology. He served as Chair of the Cognitive Program from 1996-1999. His research areas include cognitive psychologyæwith special focus on acquisition of complex knowledge, computer simulation, creative thinking and technological applications of cognitive psychology. He has published approximately 80 scholarly works on questions related to knowledge, thinking and cognitive change. Ohlsson is currently preparing an integrative statement of his views on these topics, to be published by Cambridge University Press.


Author and Independent Journalist

Evan I. Schwartz received his B.S. in computer science from Union College in 1986. He is an author and journalist who writes about innovation and the impact of technology on business and society. He is currently a contributing writer for MIT's Technology Review. A former editor at Business Week, he covered software and digital media for the magazine and was part of teams that produced 12 cover stories and won a National Magazine Award and a Computer Press Award. He has also published articles in The New York Times and Wired.

Schwartz' most recent book, The Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television (HarperCollins, 2002) tells the story of television inventor Philo T. Farnsworth and his epic battle against RCA tycoon and NBC founder David Sarnoff. His first book, Webonomics (Broadway Books, 1997), anticipated the emergence of the Internet economy. His second book, Digital Darwinism (Broadway Books, 1999), anticipated the Darwinian shakeout among the dotcom species. Each was translated into nine languages and named as a finalist for a Computer Press Award for non-fiction book of the year. He is currently working on a book about the culture of invention, for the Harvard Business School Press.


Professor of Advertising and Public Relations
Senior Research Fellow and Director of Creativity Sciences, Center for Creative Media
University of Alabama

Thomas B. Ward's research focuses on the nature of concepts, including how they are acquired, structured, combined and used in creative and noncreative endeavors. His most recent line of research examines the ways in which people apply existing knowledge to new situations, including tasks as diverse as imagining life on other planets and designing practical products. He has also conducted basic and applied studies concerned with increasing the creative potential of new ideas. Ward is one of the founding members of the Creative Cognition Research Group at Texas A&M University. In collaboration with colleagues of this group, he has published numerous articles and chapters, as well as four books concerned with creative cognition, and organized an international conference on the topic. Ward has also published broadly on categorization. He has served as Associate Editor of Memory & Cognition and currently serves as Editor of the Journal of Creative Behavior.


Professor of Psychology emeritus
Oklahoma State University

Robert J. Weber received his Ph.D. in psychology from Princeton University. His interests include the psychology of invention and creativity. He took early retirement from Oklahoma State University, and most recently he has been Visiting Research Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico. Three of his books deal with invention, broadly conceived. Forks, Phonographs, and Hot Air Balloons: A Field Guide to Inventive Thinking (Oxford University Press, 1992) is intended for the general reader, but it is also an original account of invention as a thinking process. An underlying theme is that tools and simple inventions form the oldest known record of the creative mind. Weber is co-editor (with David Perkins) of Inventive Minds: Creativity in Technology (Oxford University Press, 1992). The proceedings of this conference brought together 18 experts on invention, ranging from inventors of important technologies to historians of technology to cognitive scientists-all to discuss and theorize about the mental processes involved in invention. In his book, The Created Self: Reinventing Body, Persona, and Spirit (W. W. Norton, 2000), the ideas of invention are applied to the creation of self, something now being done on an ever more regular basis, from tattoos and surgical enhancements to the invention of new religious practices. The processes of invention extend far beyond technology. Weber's current interests continue to be thinking processes underlying invention, but now he is focusing on social inventionsæprocedures that enable and regulate social functioning.


Inventor and Founder, Cordis Corporation
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Small Parts, Inc.

William P. Murphy, Jr. studied at Harvard College and received an M.D. from the University of Illinois School of Medicine. Afterward, he studied mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Coupling his proclivity for mechanical engineering with his expertise in medicine, Murphy has revolutionized the biomedical industry. His 17 patents include inventions for the following (many developed in collaboration with various colleagues): flexible sealed blood bags; a new and efficient hemodializer (artificial kidneys); motor-driven high-pressure angiography injectors; disposable medical trays; torque-controlled selective and disposable vascular diagnostic catheters; and the first physiologic cardiac pacemaker and further improvements on the early cardiac pacemakers.

Murphy started Medical Development Corporation in 1957, which evolved into Cordis Corporation (in 1959) to develop medical instrumentation. He started Small Parts, Inc. (1963) to quickly supply small batches of materials to engineers. In 1989, Murphy helped Dean Kamen establish the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). He was the 2003 recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award.