James Wynne, my college roommate of 4 years, won the Russ Prize given every 3 years for invention of use of excimer laser surgery. The invention led to modern refractive surgery including PRK and Lasik. More than 25 million people have received Lasik therapy. Another winner of the Draper prize was a team of 5 who were the key to inventing the cell phone. The winners were Martin Cooper, Joel Engel, Richard Frenkiel, Thomas Haug and Yoshihissa Okumura. More then 6 billion people now have cell phones.

The occasion was the National Academy of Engineering awards. On the trip to the awards, $500,000 each, I passed the BLS, and the Fed and the Service in succession. Much wailing in the paper was headlined over the coming sequestration and the terrible layoffs and reductions in budgeted salary increases. Who is to blame, the front page Post headline proclaimed. You could hardly pass a block in Washington where cranes were not aloft building new structures. What a contract of pride and revulsion I felt.

We stayed on embassy row, and the loathsome spectacle of zombies wearing necklaces holding their name tags, and multimillion dollar mansions containing every embassy under the sun, was broken in part by the sight of George Washington University students dining at Le Pain Quotidian and walking down Mass avenue as if they had not been already snatched.





Speak your mind


Resources & Links