UW News

March 11, 2004

Bioengineering’s Rushmer Lecture brings SRI International president to campus

Dr. Curtis Carlson, president and CEO of SRI International and a leader in the development of high-definition television, will speak at the UW in early April on the need for a systematic process to move biomedical research ahead.

Carlson will give the 16th annual Robert F. Rushmer Lecture for the Department of Bioengineering, speaking at 4 p.m., Friday, April 2, in Turner Auditorium, room D-209, at the Health Sciences Center. The lecture is open to everyone.

Carlson’s topic, “Biomedical Research and the Need for a Process of Innovation,” will draw on the systematic innovation process in place at SRI International. He plans to use biomedical examples, such as rational drug design. Increasingly, he noted in an abstract, biomedical research that will save or improve lives requires many scientific and technical disciplines and a systemic process for transferring technological innovations to the marketplace. He has completed a book and developed a short course based on SRI’s innovation process.

Carlson became president and CEO of SRI International, based in Menlo Park, Calif., in 1998 after 20 years with the Sarnoff Corp., an SRI subsidiary. He had joined RCA Laboratories, in 1973 and started and helped lead the HDTV program, which became the U.S. standard and won an Emmy for outstanding technical achievement. Another team started and led by Carlson won an Emmy in 2000 for a system to measure broadcast image quality. As head of Ventures and Licensing at Sarnoff, he helped found more than 12 new companies.

He was at the UW in 1998 as a visiting distinguished scientist and has been a member of several government task forces, including the Defense Science Board task force on biochemical defense. He is also a member of the Highlands Group, which makes recommendations to senior government officials about technologies of importance to the federal government. He holds a dozen U.S. patents in the fields of image quality, image coding and computer vision. A graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in physics, he earned a Ph.D. at Rutgers University.

Bioengineering’s annual lecture is named for Dr. Rushmer, who founded the UW Center for Bioengineering, which became a department jointly administered by the School of Medicine and College of Engineering in 1997. Rushmer died in 2001 at the age of 86.