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Nathan Myhrvold (2007)

Nathan Myhrvold (born 1959 in Seattle, Washington), formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, is co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, which is seeking to build a large invention portfolio. He personally holds more than 18 U.S. patents and has applied for more than 100. His company is accumulating patents in software.[1][2]

Myhrvold attended Mirman School, [3] and began college at age 14.[4] He studied mathematics, geophysics, and space physics at UCLA (BSc, Masters). At Princeton he earned a master's degree in mathematical economics and completed a PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics by age 23. In 1984 he was awarded a Hertz Foundation Fellowship for graduate study. He also attended Santa Monica College. For one year, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at Cambridge working under Stephen Hawking, studying cosmology, quantum field theory in curved space time and quantum theories of gravitation, but left to co-found a computer startup in Oakland, California. The company, Dynamical Systems Research Inc., sought to produce Mondrian, a clone of IBM's TopView multitasking environment for DOS. Microsoft purchased DSR in 1986 and Myhrvold worked there for 13 years. At Microsoft he founded Microsoft Research in 1991.[5]

In 2000 Myhrvold co-founded Intellectual Ventures, a patent portfolio developer and broker[6], that has acquired over 30,000 patents[7] in the areas of technology and energy.

Myhrvold is a prize-winning nature and wildlife photographer.[8] He is also involved with paleontological research on expeditions with the Museum of the Rockies. His work has appeared in scientific journals including Science, Nature, Paleobiology and the Physical Review, as well as Fortune, Time, National Geographic Traveler and Slate. He and Peter Rinearson helped Bill Gates write The Road Ahead, a book about the future that reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 1995 and 1996. Myhrvold has contributed $1 million to the SETI Foundation for the development of the Allen Telescope Array, planned to be the world's most powerful radio telescope.

In addition to his business and scientific interests, he is a master French chef who has finished first and second in the world championship of barbecue in Memphis, Tennessee. An early culinary learning experience took place when he was allowed to act as an observer at one of Seattle's leading French restaurants.[9]

After the Science Museum in London successfully built the computing section of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine #2 in 1991, Myhrvold funded the construction of the output section, which performs both printing and stereotyping of calculated results. He also commissioned the construction of a second complete Difference Engine #2 for himself, which was exhibited at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California from May 10, 2008 through December 2009.[10][11]

On December 20, 2009, Myhrvold appeared on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS and discussed his innovative idea to eliminate global warming/climate change, involving geoengineering. It involves using hoses suspended 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from the Earth into the atmosphere via helium balloons. The hoses would be placed near the North Pole and the South Pole and emit sulfur dioxide, which is known to scatter light. Myhrvold estimated that such a configuration could "easily dim the sun by one percent, and even do it in a way that wouldn't be visible." [12]

Myhrvold is also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board[13]


  1. "Ubuntu: Microsoft is Patent Pal", Matthew Broersma, PC World, 23 May 2007
  2. Moon, Peter (2007-11-07). "Nathan Myhrvold on patent mongers and business". IDG. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  3. "Where Bright Minds Can Shine", Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, 22 November 2000
  4. Oversight Testimony “Patent Quality and Improvement” before the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, House Committee on the Judiciary, United States Congress, 28 April 2005
  5. Microsoft (1999-06-01). "Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold Takes Leave of Absence". Press release. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  6. "Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-15.  Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2008
  7. "Green Pioneers: Godfather of nutty inventions". Retrieved 2010-06-02.  Mark Harris, The Sunday Times, May 16, 2010
  8. "International Conservation Photography Awards 2008 Gallery". Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  9. "Edge profile". Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  10. "Computer History Museum unboxes a Babbage difference engine". Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  11. "The Computer History Museum Extends Its Exhibition of Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2". press release. Computer History Museum. March 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  13. retrieved 2010-07-05

Further reading

  • Auletta, Ken, "The Highwaymen", Harvest Books, 1998. ISBN 0156005735 — cf Chapter 17: The Microsoft Provocateur: Nathan Myhrvold, Bill Gates Corporate Gadfly.
  • Edstrom, Jennifer and Eller, Marlin, "Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft From The Inside: How The World's Richest Corporation Wields Its Power", Holt Paperbacks, 1999. ISBN 0805057552

External links

no:Nathan Myhrvold