Nathan Myhrvold

Nathan Myhrvold
Nathan Myhrvold

Nathan Myhrvold
Born August 3, 1959 (1959-08-03) (age 52)
Seattle, Washington
Institutions Intellectual Ventures, University of Cambridge, Microsoft Research
Alma mater Princeton University, UCLA

Nathan Paul Myhrvold (born August 3, 1959(1959-08-03) in Seattle, Washington), formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, is co-founder of Intellectual Ventures.[1][2][3] Myhrvold, usually with coinventors, holds 17 U.S. patents assigned to Microsoft[4] and has applied for more than 500 patents.[5] In addition, Myhrvold and coinventors hold 115 U.S. patents assigned mostly to The Invention Science Fund I, LLC.[6]


Early life and education

Myhrvold attended Mirman School,[7] and began college at age 14.[8] He studied mathematics, geophysics, and space physics at UCLA (BSc, Masters). He was awarded a Hertz Foundation Fellowship for graduate study and he chose to study at Princeton University, where he earned a master's degree in mathematical economics and completed a PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics by age 23.[9] He also attended Santa Monica College. For one year, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge working under Stephen Hawking, studying cosmology, quantum field theory in curved space time, and quantum theories of gravitation.


Myhrvold left Cambridge 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.

Myhrvold worked at Microsoft for 13 years. At Microsoft he founded Microsoft Research in 1991.[10]

After Microsoft, in 2000 Myhrvold co-founded Intellectual Ventures,[11] a patent portfolio developer and broker in the areas of technology and energy, which has acquired over 30,000 patents[12] and whose business practices have caused some controversy, being described by some as a patent troll company.[13] Among its companies is TerraPower, which is aiming to develop a nuclear reactor that is safe and cheap, as part of Bill Gates' strategy to the goal of zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.[14] Gates unveiled his vision for the world's energy future at the TED 2010. The plant will run on natural or depleted uranium with the potential for 100 years without refuelling.

Hobbies and pursuits

Myhrvold is a prize-winning nature and wildlife photographer.[15]


He is also involved with paleontological research on expeditions with the Museum of the Rockies. His work has appeared in scientific journals including Science[16], Nature[17], Paleobiology[18] (With Philip J. Currie), PLoS ONE[19] and the Physical Review[20], as well as Fortune, Time, Scientific American[21], 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 nonprofit SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA, for the development of the Allen Telescope Array, planned to be the world's most powerful radio telescope.

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 has been on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California since May 10, 2008.[22][23][24]


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 and apprentice at Rover's, one of Seattle's leading restaurants, with Chef Thierry Rautureau.[25] Myhrvold is the principal author of a book of culinary reference and instruction entitled Modernist Cuisine, released in March 2011, on the application of scientific research principles and new techniques and technology to cooking.[26]


On December 20, 2009, Myhrvold appeared on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS and discussed his idea to eliminate global warming/climate change using geoengineering. It involves using hoses suspended from helium balloons 25 kilometers (16 mi) above the Earth. 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."[27]

Affiliations and awards

Myhrvold is also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board[28]

In 2010, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top 100 global thinkers.[29]


  1. ^ Glass, Ira (2011-07-22). "When Patents Attack". This American Life. Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  2. ^ "Ubuntu: Microsoft is Patent Pal", Matthew Broersma, PC World, 23 May 2007
  3. ^ Moon, Peter (2007-11-07). "Nathan Myhrvold on patent mongers and business". IDG. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  4. ^ Search for Myhrvold's Microsoft patents - use seach argument in Query box: IN/Myhrvold and AN/Microsoft
  5. ^ Search for Myhrvold's pending patent applications - use seach argument in Query box: IN/Myhrvold-Nathan-P
  6. ^ Search for Myhrvold's non-Microsoft patents - use seach argument in Query box: IN/Myhrvold-Nathan-P andnot AN/Microsoft
  7. ^ "Where Bright Minds Can Shine", Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, 22 November 2000
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Corcoran, E. (1993) Profile: Nathan P. Myhrvold – The Physicist as a Young Businessman, Scientific American 268(2), 34-35.
  10. ^ Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold Takes Leave of Absence. . PressPass (Microsoft). 1999-06-01. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  11. ^ "Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-15.  Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2008
  12. ^ Harris, Mark (2010-05-16). "Green Pioneers: Godfather of nutty inventions". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-06-02.  Mark Harris, The Sunday Times, May 16, 2010
  13. ^ "This American Life: When Patents Attack". 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-07-25.  Ira Glass, NPR, July 24, 2011
  14. ^ Bill Gates on energy: Innovating to zero!
  15. ^ "International Conservation Photography Awards 2008 Gallery". Retrieved 2009-09-08. [dead link]
  16. ^ Myhrvold, N. (1998). "ESSAYS ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY: Supporting Science". Science 282 (5389): 621–622. doi:10.1126/science.282.5389.621.  edit
  17. ^ Barsbold, R.; Currie, P. J.; Myhrvold, N. P.; Osmólska, H.; Tsogtbaatar, K.; Watabe, M. (2000). "A pygostyle from a non-avian theropod". Nature 403 (6766): 155–156. doi:10.1038/35003103. PMID 10646588.  edit
  18. ^ Currie, Philip; Myhrvold, Nathan (1997). "Supersonic sauropods? Tail dynamics in the diplodocids". Paleobiology 23 (4): 393–409. 
  19. ^ Horner, J. R.; Goodwin, M. B.; Myhrvold, N. (2011). Roopnarine, Peter. ed. "Dinosaur Census Reveals Abundant Tyrannosaurus and Rare Ontogenetic Stages in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian), Montana, USA". PLoS ONE 6 (2): e16574. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016574. PMC 3036655. PMID 21347420.  edit
  20. ^ Myhrvold, N. (1983). "Runaway particle production in de Sitter space". Physical Review D 28 (10): 2439–2444. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.28.2439.  edit
  21. ^ Gibbs, W. W.; Myhrvold, N. (2011). "A new spin on cooking". Scientific American 304 (3): 23. PMID 21438483.  edit
  22. ^ "Computer History Museum unboxes a Babbage difference engine". Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  23. ^ "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. 
  24. ^ "The Babbage Engine exhibit at Computer History Museum". Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  25. ^ "Edge profile". Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  26. ^ "Modernist Cuisine". Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  27. ^ "Solving Global Warming with Nathan Myhrvold". CNN. 
  28. ^ Advisors. USA Science and Engineering Festival
  29. ^ "Foreign Policy's Second Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy.,37. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 

Further reading

  • Auletta, Ken, "The Highwaymen", Harvest Books, 1998. ISBN 0-15-600573-5 — 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 0-8050-5755-2

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Nathan Myhrvold — head of the research center of the Microsoft Corp …   English contemporary dictionary

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  • Myhrvold — n. family name; Nathan Myhrvold, head of the research center and CTO of Microsoft Corporation …   English contemporary dictionary

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