Whitesides' lively and provocative talk celebrated goal-driven science built on simplicity. Important inventions, he argued, are made by stacking technologies whose building blocks are scientific and mathematical ideas as simple as binary arithmetic: 0s and 1s.
Using elegant examples of inventions from his own lab, Whitesides argued for the value of starting with the goal of a product—a specific, valuable solution to a specific problem. For most people, having an objective does not corrupt the intellectual process," he said. "It strengthens it."
Whitesides was introduced by Ben Patrusky, who recently retired as CASW's Executive Director and was honored by the CASW Board with the creation of the Patrusky Lecture. Patrusky joined CASW President Alan Boyle in presenting an engraved crystal prism and certificate to Whitesides, who joined in festivities honoring Patrusky over the weekend meeting hosted by the University of Florida.