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50 Years Of UCSD Ideas

Audio

Aired 2/25/11

A one-day exhibit called the “Ideas Expo” highlights five decades of science and technology innovation from University of California San Diego researchers.

— Following a week-long series of lectures and exhibitions, the one-day expo honors UCSD’s golden anniversary with a hands-on exhibit open to the public through Friday evening.

Stephen Mayfield, PhD., is a UCSD professor and biofuel expert; he is also a presenter at Friday’s expo.

Mayfield said one of most beneficial changes came about in 1998. That’s when academic researchers teamed up with commercial companies to quickly turn their discoveries into usable products, like medicine or biofuel.

“So it turned out to work really good on both levels. We were making real products and we continued to make fantastic fundamental discoveries,” said Mayfield.

UCSD’s alumni include 14 Nobel Prize winners. Many more of the school’s entrepreneurial scientists have spawned 200 spin off companies.

Mayfield said that’s a good start, but he believes the biggest breakthroughs in science are still to come -- especially in areas like renewable energy.

“My job and my hope is that we’re able to develop renewable sources of energy so that we can slowly get off this addiction to petroleum that we’ve been on for the last 100 years,” said Mayfield.

Visitors to the "Ideas Expo" have an opportunity to meet Mayfield and other prominent world scientists and researchers.

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