XPRIZE CEO to deliver inaugural Summit keynote

Space pioneer, entrepreneur, author and XPRIZE CEO Peter H. Diamandis will deliver the inaugural Shaping the Future Summit keynote address at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, in Eisenhower Auditorium on Penn State’s University Park campus. Diamandis will speak on “The Impact of Innovation,” the theme of the 2014 Summit, which is being sponsored by the Schreyer Honors College with support from Life Technologies, Inc., a global biotechnology company based in Carlsbad, Calif.

“The idea behind the Shaping the Future Summit is to bring before our students and the community someone who can speak to what lies ahead and how they can start now to prepare themselves to successfully meet those challenges,” said Christian M. M. Brady, dean of the Schreyer Honors College. “Peter Diamandis is a visionary and the right person at this time to get our students and the entire community to embrace the possibilities before us. This is a man who sees no limits -- not on this planet, not beyond in space. He pushes the envelope on ideas and technology and I look forward to him pushing our students and propelling them to think about the roles they will play in the future.”

Diamandis, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Medical College, has built his career upon innovation. The XPRIZE Foundation, which he leads, is dedicated to bringing about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity through incentivized prize competitions ranging from global development to deep space exploration.

One current competition, the Google Lunar XPRIZE, has a Penn State connection. Penn State’s Lunar Lions, a group of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers, are the only university team remaining in the competition against 18 other organizations from around the globe. The first team to land a rover on the moon, cover a specified distance on the lunar surface and successfully transmit data back to earth by Dec. 31, 2015, will win $20 million.

In addition to the XPRIZE, Diamandis is the co-founder of Singularity University, the Silicon Valley center dedicated to innovation and technical acceleration; a co-founder of Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company; and the co-author of the New York Times best-seller "Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think."

Diamandis’ Summit address culminates a series of programs focused on innovation that were held on campus throughout this academic year.

“For this inaugural Summit, we chose innovation, a theme that has allowed us to look at different aspects of various enterprises central to the future -- technology, energy, sustainability, health care, entrepreneurship,” Brady said. “It is my sincerest hope that the events leading up to our April 1 event were just the beginning. My vision is that 10, 15, or 20 years from now we will see Penn Staters taking the lead in innovative breakthroughs be it in energy or healthcare or new industry and the seeds for that success will have been planted at this inaugural event, the first of many Summits.”

Summit-related events included:

·      “From Wall Street to Watson: The Next Generation of Data Networks” with Casimer DeCusatis, a 1986 Penn State engineering graduate and the chief technology officer of IBM System Networking Strategic Alliances.

·      “What do you do with Entrepreneurship? Everything.” with Patricia Green, a 1972 Penn State graduate in health policy and administration and the Paul T. Babson Chair in Entrepreneurship at Babson College. This lecture was held in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week.

·      “The Future of Medicine” panel discussion with leading health care professionals, including Dr. Duane Alexander, senior scientific adviser to the director of the National Institutes of Health's Fogarty International Center and Penn State faculty. This program was provided in partnership with the Eberly College of Science.

·      “Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy” with Jigar Shah, solar pioneer. This event was part of the Penn State Institutes of Energy and Environment’s Colloquium on the Environment.

·      “Ocean Acidification: The Underreported Crisis” panel discussion with Seattle Times environmental reporter Craig Welch and Penn State faculty. This discussion was provided in partnership with the Department of Geosciences and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.

·      Student visit to Penn State’s GridSTAR Center at The Navy Yard, Philadelphia.

The following community organizations and University units have joined the Schreyer Honors College and Life Technologies, Inc., as partners in supporting this year’s Shaping the Future Summit: co.space, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Department of Geosciences, the College of Information Sciences and Technology, Innoblue, New Leaf Initiative, the Penn State Center for Sustainability, the Penn State Hershey Institute of Personalized Medicine, the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, the Penn State Lunar Lion Team, the Presidential Leadership Academy, and the Smeal College of Business.

The Shaping the Future Summit lecture is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Ticket information is at futuresummit.psu.edu. Join the conversation at #futuresummit.

For more information, contact Beth Kocher Gormley, coordinator of college relations, Schreyer Honors College, at blk129@psu.edu or 814-863-4582. 

Last Updated March 25, 2014