Once we went to the Moon. Now we make smartphone apps. We’ll talk about really taking on our big challenges, with big ambition again. Cancer. The climate. Sky’s the limit.
There was a time – and not so long ago – when Americans believed they could do anything. And they did. Learned to fly. Conquered polio. Walked on the moon. Then something happened. Science went on. And innovation.
But the breakthroughs seemed smaller. Smartphone apps, not moonwalks. We have huge challenges in this century. We need huge breakthroughs again. On energy, water, cancer, climate change. What’s in the way? How do we do it?
This hour, On Point: accomplishing really big things again.
David Keith, professor of applied physics at Harvard University School of Engineering and professor of public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Jeffrey Grossman, professor of materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
From Tom's Reading List
MIT Technology Review "That something happened to humanity’s capacity to solve big problems is a commonplace. Recently, however, the complaint has developed a new stridency among Silicon Valley’s investors and entrepreneurs, although it is usually expressed a little differently: people say there is a paucity of real innovations. Instead, they worry, technologists have diverted us and enriched themselves with trivial toys. "
This program aired on December 13, 2012.