Fall 2010 IAB
September 15 to 17

BSAC Alumni Panel. Moderator: Richard S. Muller; Panelists Dennis Polla, IARPA; Amit Lal, Cornell U.; Michael Judy, ADI

Panel/Audience Discussion: "BSAC after a quarter century: Will MEMS displace IC’s as the path to prosperity for the next-generation entrepreneurs?"

BSAC was born in 1986, the 25th anniversary year of the most important invention of the 20th century, the silicon integrated circuit. Already during its first quarter century, the IC had changed society profoundly, but still one could rightly say, “You aint seen nuthin yet!” If you were “wild and crazy” in 1986 you might guess the future for ICs by saying, for example, “Moore’s Law has been ‘on the books’ since 1965, but it will still be in force in the coming third millennium,” or, possibly “in not many years, bipolar transistors will be hard to find in ICs,’” or, even crazier, “CMOS will become the design staple for virtually every electronic job.”

Now it is 2011 the IC has a half-century behind it, and BSAC has grown into a 25-year-old. What “wild and crazy” guesses can we make to characterize the MEMS (BSAC) progress in the coming quarter-century? How about “mobile sensing will be ubiquitous, and sensed outputs will be exchanged for detailed processing and decision making on a continual basis,” or “electrical engineering and biology will be bedfellows for education and for industrial innovation,” or “silicon will become a second-rank material as novel MEMS are created using new ‘nano-materials’ and, perhaps, layered ‘active’ materials,” or ??

As much as its 25 years of research innovations, BSAC takes pride in the talented, creative people whose work has brought forth this progress through their graduate programs. We have asked three of these BSAC alumni to provide their thoughts to crystallize our consideration of the subjects that form the title of this discussion. Each of the three has built a career in a different area of the MEMS field: in teaching, in industry, and in government service.