Physicists as Entrepreneurs

Education

Many parents confront their college-age kids with the question, “What are you going to do with a degree in that?” If a few visionaries at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland succeed, physics majors can say, “Run a company.”

That’s the goal of the Physics Entrepreneurship master’s program just being launched in the Case physics department. “We want to empower physicists as entrepreneurs,” says Cyrus Taylor, program director and physics professor. The heart of the program is a thesis in which students focus on a new physics innovation as either the basis of a startup or the solution to a problem posed by a corporate partner. Similar programs exist for engineering and e-business entrepreneurs, Taylor says, but there is nothing like it in physics.

An encounter between physics chair Lawrence Krauss and businessman Robert Stieglitz three years ago led to a lecture series on physics entrepreneurship. Feedback from speakers, students and physics alumni persuaded Krauss and Taylor to turn it into a formal program to provide training that many physics alumni said they were forced to get in “the school of hard knocks.”

This story is part of our September/October 2000 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

The first class will begin the two-year program this fall. “My bet is not only that we’ll succeed dramatically… but I think that it will become successful enough that it will become a prototype [for similar programs],” Krauss says.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Listen in as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.