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The 2010 CU Canon Foundation Lecture : Creative tensions between science and technology

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CREATIVE TENSIONS BETWEEN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Many of the big discoveries in science have come about after a breakthrough in technology (Galileo needed lens-making technology before he could construct his telescope). However, current popular perceptions of the scientific method are different – too often science is presented as a series of ‘grand challenges’ where we all know where the important next problem lies. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN is thus presented as the machine to find the Higgs boson. Long-range research is now the preserve of the universities in much of the industrialized world. The relationship between university researchers and the generators of new technology in industrial and commercial organizations is not always valued appropriately, but can provide real value in both directions. Sir Richard will draw on local examples of university – industrial cooperation, drawing attention both to interactions with smaller companies and also larger organizations, such as the Japanese companies that have played a strong role in this.

Professor Sir Richard Friend is the Cavendish Professor at the University of Cambridge where he leads the Optoelectronics Group in the Cavendish Laboratory. He has been involved in the scientific discoveries underlying the emergence of plastic electronics and in its commercial development. Professor Friend has over 600 publications and more than 60 patents. He was knighted for “Services to Physics” in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, 2003.

The Canon Foundation in Europe is a philanthropic, grant-making institution, active in the promotion of international cultural and scientific relations between Europe and Japan. The objective of the Canon Foundation in Europe is the promotion of science, culture, know-how and mutual understanding between Europe and Japan. This aim should be reached by annually providing up to 15 Canon Foundation Research Fellowships to postgraduate students and researchers. Europeans receive the Fellowship for long term periods of research in Japan and, similarly, Japanese to undertake research in Europe.

The first Global Citizenship Invited Lecture was held in 2007 in Brussels to mark the 20th anniversary of the Canon Foundation in Europe. In 2008, the Lecture on Intercultural Dialogue between Germany and Japan took place in Berlin. And in 2009, the Lecture on European and Asian approaches to a global currency was given in Madrid.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Physical Society series.

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