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Alumni News

SMC DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS Nathan Myhrvold

AUTHOR, ENGINEER, INVENTOR

Dr. Nathan Myhrvold is most recently recognized as the principal author of Modernist Cuisine, a culinary text on the application of scientific research principles and new techniques and technology to cooking. After his 14-year tenure as chief strategist and chief technology officer of Microsoft Corporation—where he helped spearhead many of the company’s most successful products and founded Microsoft Research—Myhrvold founded Intellectual Ventures (IV) in 2000.

Dr. Myhrvold, a visionary technology and business leader, is also a proud alumnus of Santa Monica College. He attended SMC up to the spring of 1979 before he transferred to the University of California at Los Angeles where he would earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in geophysics and space physics. Myhrvold earned a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics and a master’s degree in mathematical economics from Princeton University, and a postdoctoral fellow from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University while working with Professor Stephen Hawking on research in cosmology, quantum field theory in “curved spacetime” and quantum theories of gravitation. In 2005, in recognition of his distinguished career, Princeton awarded Myhrvold the James Madison Medal, the University’s highest honor for alumni.

Under his leadership, IV manages one of the largest and fastest growing intellectual property (IP) portfolios in the world, with more than 40,000 assets and over $6 billion in total committed capital. IV’s investors include many of the world’s most innovative companies and renowned academic and research institutions. Myhrvold is also an avid inventor himself and holds hundreds of issued patents.

Myhrvold is an accomplished author having co-authored and published the acclaimed five-volume 2,438-page cookbook Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking (2011), Modernist Cuisine at Home (2012), and The Photography of Modernist Cuisine (2013). Many of his academic essays are published in leading scientific journals including Science, Nature, Paleobiology, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and Physical Review. He has also authored numerous essays on the tech industry, bio-terrorism, and climate change for Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Time, and National Geographic Traveler among others.

Currently, Myhrvold serves as an affiliate research associate of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, an affiliate of Montana State University, where he funds and participates in paleontological research and yearly expeditions. Myhrvold is a member of United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable and a regular contributor to local Seattle arts and education non-profits. In 2000, he partnered with Paul Allen and pledged $1 million to the SETI Foundation to fund the development phase of the world’s most powerful telescope — the Allen Telescope Array.

See when Nathan Myhrvold came back to visit SMC! 

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