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Energy Secretary Leads Discussion on Innovation at Stevens

Dr. Steven Chu participated in the moderated panel as part of events celebrating the inauguration of incoming Stevens president Nariman Farvardin.

Stevens Institute of Technology began celebrating the Dr. Nariman Farvardin early on Friday morning with a panel discussion at the DeBaun Auditorium featuring United States Department of Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu.

Dr. Farvardin, who took office in July, will participate in an inauguration ceremony Friday afternoon with appearances by New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

The panel discussion Friday morning was entitled “Excellence in Innovation,” and focused on exploring “the impact of technology in addressing critical issues facing society from global, organizational, educational and research perspectives.”

Stevens Provost Dr. George Korfiatis welcomed the audience, which included over 150 people, by sharing the school's motivation for hosting the discussion.

"At Stevens," he said, "innovation and entrepreneurship are core values."

Dr. Farvardin, an expert in information theory and wireless networks, next discussed the growing challenges the United States faces in an increasingly globalized and technologically advanced economy. He said the United States is losing ground to developing nations that are investing more in education.

Dr. Farvardin preceded Dr. Chu, who gave an informative presentation aided by computer slides. A physicist, Dr. Chu won the Nobel Prize in 1997 before being nominated by President Obama to oversee the Department of Energy.

Dr. Chu's presentation focused on the theme of innovation, specifically how the United States has relied on innovation to achieve economic growth, and why the country must continue to invest in research if it is to remain competitive.

“We remain the most innovative country in the world,” Dr. Chu said. “But 'invented in America' is not good enough.”

The Energy Secretary gave several historical examples of American innovation, including the research over decades that led from the vacuum tube to the transistor to the integrated circuit, which now powers computers and other electronic devices.

Like Dr. Farvardin, Secretary Chu sounded the alarm about competition to American economic interests. But he did close by offering an aspirational slogan: “Invented in America, Made in America, Sold Worldwide.”

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