Last Word: The Importance of Invention

Author(s): President Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.

President Mitch Daniels

At Purdue University, we are out to cultivate an “ecosystem” conducive to invention and entrepreneurism. From the newest undergraduate to the most senior researcher, the discoveries made in our multimillion-dollar facilities on campus must have application beyond. In late February, I named Dan Hasler the president of the Purdue Research Foundation with the assignment to accelerate the rate at which Purdue’s research goes global in the form of new products, drugs and technology.

The College of Science is a huge part of this vision. From the historic and nationally recognized labs in Wetherill and Brown halls to its large presence in Discovery Park, I’ve come to appreciate the College of Science’s historic and integral presence on campus and the reach it extends beyond.

While I’ve only officially been at Purdue since January, I met with the College of Science in early October to learn about where things stand right now and where the college hopes to be in the near future. I was excited by what I learned from the department heads, deans and other leaders in the college.

In just the few months since that meeting, I’ve seen innovations come from Chemistry faculty and researchers in the form of brain tissue analysis that will help in the speed and efficiency of treating brain cancer. I’ve met Computer Science undergraduates starting their careers without waiting for graduation, building software companies and successful, mass-marketed iPhone apps before they are old enough to go to Harry’s Chocolate Shop.

Alongside our students, our alumni must also be applauded for their innovation and ability to find unique ways to use science in business. In this issue you’ve read about Physics alumnus Ted Moore, who established Indy Audio Labs in the Purdue Research Park in Indianapolis. Moore teamed with Boilermaker Engineering graduates to create a successful, high-end audio design company. His physics background has come in handy in an environment that his old professors may not have expected. Still, Indy Audio Labs would not be where it is today without Moore’s physics background, and the old gold and black accents to a lot of the components to his home theater and audio equipment designs are a nice touch.

Sarah Klosek embraces invention every day as a patent attorney working in commercialization. A Chemistry graduate, Klosek has found success representing technologies in pharmaceuticals, polymers, medical devices, nanotechnology and more.

Klosek’s work helps pave the way for enterprising young alumni like Computer Science’s Michael Stoppelman, software engineer and vice president at the popular restaurant reviewing and rating site Yelp. Stoppelman’s software expertise has helped Yelp become the go-to website for customer-driven restaurant critiques. As part of Computer Science’s 50th anniversary year, Stoppelman recently came back to campus to talk about his career. Perhaps he inspired other Computer Science students to find success through bold, innovative means as well.

The College of Science continues to contribute importantly to Purdue’s growing worldwide reputation. I can’t wait to see what comes next from its varied disciplines and superb talents.