On Friday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that they had successfully recruited Dr. Thomas Lee to serve as the Director of the Microsystems Technology Office. This office has been responsible for critical breakthroughs in microelectronics, nanotechnology, and photonics with both defense and civilian applications.
Dr. Lee is a leader in the field of computer chips for wireless technologies such as mobile phones, short-range wireless devices, and global positioning systems (GPS). In addition to spending 17 years as a professor in electrical engineering at Stanford, Dr. Lee has also founded two high-tech companies. And earlier this month he was awarded the Ho-Am Prize in Engineering, known as the “Korean Nobel.”
Dr. Lee decided to come to DARPA because of his commitment to public service and because of the leadership of DARPA Director Dr. Regina Dugan and Deputy Director Dr. Kaigham Gabriel, who are empowering America’s best and brightest to take big risks in pursuit of America’s technological superiority.
As Dr. Dugan noted in her recent testimony, DARPA has made a real effort to strengthen its ties with the academic community. In the 5 years prior to 2009, the per year average number of university faculty and researchers hired to work as program managers at DARPA was two. In 2010, it was 10, a five-fold increase.
Congratulations to DARPA’s “army of technogeeks!”
Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy