For the past 2 years we have produced a special TV series on Women in Science & Tech. Our sense was that this series would resonate with our audience in the San Francisco Bay area. Happily we got very encouraging feedback from viewers and programming folks from various TV stations. And then we expanded our footprint and ventured outside of our comfort zone in SF Bay area. Happily we got very encouraging feedback from the programming folks from various markets in the USA. All this encouraging feedback means that need to produce more episodes in 2017.
Guests featured in this series share their story of how they got interested in math and science, and how their parents helped develop their interest. Not all of them had an easy time at school and a couple of them did not pursue math and science in college, and yet they ended up working in the tech industry. Tune in to find out their stories.
This series on Women in Science and Tech is sponsored by Zoho.
We caught up with Oscar nominee Theodore Melfi of Hidden Figures inSan Francisco. Melfi directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Alison Schroder. We talked to him about the making of Hidden Figures, how he got attached to the film. the math boot camp for his actors and the music by Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.The film won 3 Oscar nominations: best picture, best supporting actress and the best adapted screenplay.
LISTEN: OSCAR NOMINEE THEODORE MELFI ON HIDDEN FIGURES & MATH BOOT CAMP:
Hidden Figures is a true story based by a book by the same name by Margot Lee Shetterley. The film is about 3 African-American math teachers, who worked in NASA’s Apollo project in the 1960s. The film highlights how these women overcame racism and prejudice in the workplace. Interestingly, the stories of these African-Americans and their contribution to NASA has largely remain hidden until now.
In December 2016 Melfi and Olivia Spencer, who acts in the film were in San Francisco to receive The Sloan Science in Cinema award. The award is given by the San Francisco Film Society and The Sloan Foundation.
Danielle Applestone is CEO of Other Machine Co., a hardware company that makes desktop milling machine called Other Mill. The company is based in Berkeley and manufactures its desktop milling machines locally in San Francisco Bay area.
We sat down to speak to Applestone on how she developed in interest in math and science from an early age. Her parents encouraged her interest in math and science and she learnt to fix things around the house as a young girl says Applestone. She went to a magnet school in Arkansas and decided to study chemical engineering.
We also spoke about her journey from Arkansas to Boston where she studied chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Turns out she really did not want to study chemical engineering, and her interest was in material science. She then headed south to Texas to get her PhD in Material Science from University of Texas at Austin.
She was interviewing for a job at Tesla in Silicon Valley, when she switched her plans and went to work at Other Machine Co. She has helped raise money for the company and is focussed on building and expanding Other Machine’s footprint.
What advice does Applestone have for young girls? Tune in to find out Applestone’s very practical advice on how to hack the system and become an effective player.
We sat down with Chris Garcia, curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View to find out about the evolution of technology and the history and legacy of Silicon Valley.
The Computer History Museum is the place to see those huge computers that used punch cards to the advent of personal computers and smart phones. This is the place to see how technology evolved. What were the inflection points that helped shape this technical revolution and ushered in the Age of Information.
The museum has a treasure trove of artifacts and houses quite a few unusual objects including a 1960s Kitchen Computer, robots, Cray Supercomputers and early versions of Apple computers. We were also curious to find out how Garcia curates artifacts at the museum. What is that process like?
LISTEN: CURATOR CHRIS GARCIA OF COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM ON SILICON VALLEY’S HISTORY & CULTURE
Garcia grew up in Silicon Valley and remembers using Apple’s computers as a kid. He shares some fascinating backstories about Silicon Valley’s startup culture. For example, Nolan Bushenell’sAtari Inc helped shaped the startup culture of Silicon Valley like free food and a casual working atmosphere, which is now followed by many startups around the world.
Punit Soni is an engineer, investor and advistor to startups. He is an ex-Googler and the former Chief Product Officer of Flipkart, an Indian ecommerce company.
We sat down with Soni to talk about his journey to America from Mumbai, India. What prompted him to pursue a MBA degree after working as an engineer in Silicon Valley for a few years? He did not succeed the first time around in getting into a MBA program. So, What prompted him to try again and again? What did he do differently that got him into Wharton’s MBA program? Armed with a MBA degree Soni joined Google.
LISTEN: PUNIT SONI ON WORKING IN SILICON VALLEY& COMING TO AMERICA:
Disrupt yourself is a mantra that Soni follows and he credits his mother for instilling that thought in him. After working at Flipkart for a year Soni is back in Silicon Valley.
This interview was originally aired on TV in the USA.
Michael Price is Chief Technology Officer of Seismic Warning Systems, a Silicon Valley company. We sit down to speak with Price about earthquakes and early warning systems. What happens during an earthquake? How many seconds of warning do you get before the earthquake shock waves hit? How does their technology and signal help facilities like a hospital or a fire station during an earthquake?
We also speak to Price of what brought him from Pittsburgh to Silicon Valley over 30 years ago. How has Silicon Valley changed? What tectonic shifts has he witnessed in Silicon Valley? When he moved here the valley was in a transition stage and moving to the age of personal computing.
30 years ago Price moved from Pittsburg to Silicon Valley, when it was in a transitional stage. The valley was moving to the age of personal Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Apple were the big companies at that time. Price worked at Pixar in the 1980s when Steve Jobs was actively involved in the company. What was it like to work at Pixar with Jobs? Tune in to find out.
A kitchen computer, that too a binary one? Yes, way back in the 1960’s Honeywell Corp. made a kitchen computer for home makers. And, the home computer was featured in a Neiman Marcus catalog from 1969.
We turned to Chris Garcia, curator at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley to find out about this fascinating computer. How did this binary computer work? How did you input recipes? Did they sell any of these computers? Tune in to find out.
Meet Mobot, an autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot that I saw at the RoboBusiness in San Jose.
Motobot is a collaboration between Yamaha and SRI International of Menlo Park, CA. Think of it like the motorcycle equivalent of Google’s self-driving car. One of the objectives from the project is to improve safety of motorcycles.
Earlier this week I visited the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. I got a guided tour from Chris Garcia, a curator at the museum. This is the place to see how the “Computing Revolution” started 2,000 years ago. The artefacts range from primitive calculating devices to Napier’s Bones to the Enigma machine and the first computers that were huge to the Home Brewers Club revolution and the advent of personal computers. And, let us not forget the World Wide Web Revolution and the advent of browsers that changed our lives for ever. This place is just not for geeks and nerds, but for folks like you and I, who are curious to find out and see how this whole computing revolution started.