Photographer and scientist Nathan Myhrvold has developed a camera that captures snowflakes at a microscopic level never seen before
University of Chicago economist and Freakonomics author Steven Levitt interviewed Nathan for the podcast People I (Mostly) Admire. Among the topics they discussed in their wide-ranging conversation: how Nathan met Bill Gates and eventually became Microsoft's first chief technology officer despite never having taken a computer science class, what it was like working with Stephen Hawking and his contributions to physics, the strategies and frustrations of being a prolific inventor, the crucial role that advanced fission power can play in combatting climate change, education of highly gifted children, and Nathan's forthcoming three-volume book on pizza.
Nathan Myhrvold is a barbecue world champion who studied physics under Stephen Hawking. In this exclusive extract from GQ’s book How To Win At Life, he explains why science is your secret ingredient...
Myhrvold has been able to combine two childhood passions
Back in 2005, Nathan Myhrvold, a former Microsoft colleague, showed me a long scientific paper on an innovative nuclear reactor and introduced me to the lead author, an inventive physicist named Lowell Wood who would go on to beat Thomas Edison’s record for the most U.S. patents in history. Lowell claimed that this reactor could satisfy “much of humanity’s requirements for electricity in the 21st century.” I was skeptical, but also intrigued.
“Nuclear reactors are not the thing you get into if you want to win popularity contests. Eliminating polio is a lot more popular.” — Nathan Myhrvold, co-founder of Intellectual Ventures Lab.
In a talk to Hacker News Seattle and Cofounders Connect, Myhrvold shared five big ideas on using AI to diagnose disease, quantum metamaterials, the challenges of robotic pizza, open-source furniture, and the future of television.
Myhrvold’s latest tome, Modernist Bread, digs not into the modernist world of fog and foams, but the uber-traditional world of bread. Though it may not seem like the logical next step, Myhrvold is passionate about the idea of taking something so rooted in the old and finding a way to innovate. We sat down with him to talk about embarking on his love of cooking, how words like artisanal get stripped of all meaning and what it costs to take on such a massive project.
Nathan Myhrvold takes pictures of food, just like the rest of us. But with robots, microscopes, and a machine shop.
Metamaterials have patterns that can be programmed to interact with light in ways that normal materials can't. Nathan Myhrvold explains the uses for metamaterials in areas such as 5G and autonomous vehicles, and discusses the different tech startups that Intellectual Ventures is investing in.