News Details

MIT researcher, entrepreneur to deliver innovation talk at Purdue

February 9, 2010

A leading researcher, entrepreneur and semiconductor industry expert from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will speak on "Inside Real Innovation" during a Purdue University 2010 National Engineers Week lecture on campus.

Eugene Fitzgerald, MIT's Merton C. Flemings-SMA Professor of Materials Science and Engineering who has launched a half dozen technology companies, will deliver the Philip F. Bagwell Lecture at 3 p.m. Feb. 18 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall.

His talk, which is free and open to the public, will highlight how entrepreneurs can take advantage of the current tough economic climate to expand their business and gain venture capital by researching and developing their ideas for long-term growth. Fitzgerald also is in the process of writing a book on innovation.

"Dr. Fitzgerald has unique insights into what it takes to move breakthrough research from the laboratory to the marketplace where it can have a meaningful impact," said lecture organizer Mark S. Lundstrom, Purdue's Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and executive committee chairman of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology.

"As a veteran of a half dozen startups based on his academic research, he has developed a healthy respect for the cyclical nature of the business world, encouraging entrepreneurs to be patient with their growth so they can seize the moment when the economy starts to leap back."

The talk is part of the Philip F. Bagwell Lecture Series organized and sponsored by the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Other sponsors are the Network for Computational Nanotechnology and the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Purdue's Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program and the university's Kauffman Campuses Initiative.

"It turns out that most of the PR about entrepreneurism currently going on at universities is hype rather of real substance," said Jerry M. Woodall, the Barry M. and Patricia L. Epstein Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue and longtime colleague of Fitzgerald. "Gene is among a handful of academicians in the world that really understands this issue and is working diligently to make entrepreneurship real in the academic world."

Fitzgerald also is director of the Fitzgerald Group, which addresses fundamental problems at the materials and device level that, if solved, will bring new opportunities to the marketplace. Some of the group's previous research successes have led to newly formed companies such as AmberWave Systems Corporation, Paradigm Research LLC, and 4Power LLC.

Fitzgerald Group's experience in materials and entrepreneurship also has led to participation in the founding teams of Contour Semiconductor and The Water Initiative. Current research projects focus on solar energy, thermoelectric materials, and optoelectronic and electronic products.

"Dr. Fitzgerald is an extremely fitting speaker for the lecture series, with the late Dr. Bagwell's strong connection to MIT and research accomplishments in the areas of semiconductors and superconductivity," Lundstrom said.

Fitzgerald has 28 issued U.S. patents with several pending, and has authored or co-authored more than 150 technical papers. He currently serves on the Materials and Energy board for World Scientific Publishing, and served on the editorial board of Materials Science and Engineering Reports from 1995-2003 and the Materials Research Society's board from 2003-2006.

Philip Bagwell was an associate professor in Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering who died of cancer in 2002. He earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1984 and master's and doctoral degrees from MIT in 1988 and 1990, respectively. He joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1991. The first Bagwell Lecture was held in 2004.


Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources:      Mark Lundstrom, 765-494-3515,

      Eugene Fitzgerald, (617) 258-7461,



Related Web sites:

Eugene Fitzgerald:

Fitzgerald Group:

Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering:

Purdue's Kauffman Campuses Initiative:



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