The POPTech Conference

PopTech brings some of the world's most interesting minds and talents to the beautiful seaside village of Camden, Maine, at the height of the fall foliage season. Together, 500 PopTech participants meet in a beautifully restored 19th century opera house, where we learn, debate, discuss, and are surprised by the new ideas shaping our future. But it's not just the location that makes PopTech special. It's the passionate coming together of minds and voices, the sense of an intimate intellectual and creative community. For more info, visit www.poptech.org

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October 20, 2005

Space Travel as Inspiration and Vision at POPTech

Peter Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation which recently awarded a $10,000,000 prize for private spaceflight. Peter's speech reminds me of how the Apollo space program inspired a generation of young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. (I remember my own starry-eyed wonder watching Apollo launches and how it set a course for my own pursuit of science.)

What I find remarkable about the energy of people like Peter is the passion behind the vision that he espouses. And when I think back on then President Kennedy's call to put a man on the moon, I am struck by the alignment of energy that our entire country experienced in that period. With an entire nation of people working in such mass collaboration, amazing feats were possible. Seeing Peter's photos reminds me of that spirit.

That's the kind of passion that surely is possible on several dimensions of scale when we find a way to create alignments in our work communities. Innovation thrives, and teams achieve things at warp speed, which is impossible when a community is fighting itself.

Peter closes with, "The most critical tool for solving humanity's most grand challenges, is a committed and passionate mind." Bravo!

Post script: Just when I thought I heard my dose of inspiration for the day, along came Marcia McNutt on deep ocean research using marine geophysical data to study the physical properties of the Earth beneath the oceans. Then came Dr. Carolyn Porco, who is the leader of the Cassini Science Imaging Team and a lead imaging scientist on the New Horizons Pluto/Kuiper Belt mission.

In her closing remarks, Carolyn talked about the positively spiritual experience invoked from bearing witness to the marvels of space, and her warm and inspirational message brought the entire opera house to its feet in thunderous applause. It was truly a highlight of the conference, as it brought out the soul of the POPTech community.

My oh my...

Posted by Mike at October 20, 2005 4:29 PM

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Comments

Well said; for some reason, the shuttle program (other than the disasters) have failed to spark anything like the interest in Apollo; perhaps the mission goals are/were still too nebulous...

Posted by: Sean C. at October 22, 2005 1:49 AM

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