research again.

Nice to see the Nobel prizes on youtube.

A German, Peter Grünberg, and a Frenchman, Albert Fert, won this year’s  Nobel prize for physics; for work done on  giant magnetoresitance. As I mentioned yesterday, without this work it is unlikely that the ipod and other storage devices would exist. These guys changed the face of storage.

The German government, academica and industrial legacies should be proud of the Max Planck Institute and other research initiatives and foundations that make this research possible, but Germany needs to rediscover the powerful link between research and the entrepreneur. This is where the Americans continue to show the world how it is done.

Part of it is continued and expanded funding for pure research, but equally important is helping encourage investment and entrepreneurship. This involves fostering a culture of risk taking. Germany needs to look to its history of innovation and rekindle it.  With a third of the EU budget subsidising farmers it is time for a radical rethink.


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7 thoughts on “research again.”

  1. “Germany needs to look to its history of innovation and rekindle it.”

    I think there is enough (almost too much) emphasis on our traditions in research and innovation. The crux is that the academic system is still run by people from yesteryear and stubborn to reform. People like Hasso Plattner who try to bring change to the sector are still too rare. Most top talented graduates these days head for the US as they have an approach to academic funding that is still very hard to imagine for most educational institutions in Europe.

  2. Michael,
    Indeed, you are right, there is much to fix.
    I’m a big fan of the HPI in Potsdam. It would be fabulous to see that becoming a locus of innovation in the same way that Stanford does for the valley.

    As a foreigner living in Germany, I’m really upbeat about Germany. Weird that so few germans are….

  3. Research is failure.
    If you can’t accept that principal you are doomed. I’m with Thomas that federally funded research is so important to growing a forward moving economy. Look at the US during WWII and the Space Race those events allowed us to become the most formidable economic power in the world.
    Look at as now:
    1 USD = .982097 CAD ( price as of 2007.10.11 02:11:46 UTC )

  4. “As a foreigner living in Germany, I’m really upbeat about Germany. Weird that so few germans are….”

    As a German living in a foreign country, I wouldn’t say that I am downbeat about the situation in Germany. It’s just frustrating to see that a lot of graduates are in their early to mid-30s. I know age is not the only aspect in all this – it can even be an advantage. But if someone has to wait up to 12 months to find a tutor for his thesis (as I heard many times) then something is rotten.

    Before I started my uni courses in the UK, a British lecturer of mine once said: “When they come over to us, German students have so far been filling their brain drawers with knowledge. Over here they learn how to open and use them.”.

    That, for me, hits the nail on the head.

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