On Wednesday, October 16, Eric A. Swanson (’82 B.S., ECE) deliverered the 14th annual Tang Lecture in Campus Center Room 1009. The title of this year’s Tang Lecture was “Startup Stories: Personal Observations and Other Comments.” Mr. Swanson is the director of Acacia Communication, Curata Incorporated, and NinePoint Medical. In 2012 he was a co-recipient of the $1.3-million António Champalimaud Vision Award, one the world’s largest scientific and humanitarian prizes and the largest in visual research, for the discovery of optical coherence tomography, which plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of the most important blinding diseases of the industrialized world: macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
He was a co-recipient of the 1992 Rank Prize for contributions to opto-electronics. The first part of his talk will be a simple overview of entrepreneurship and its related issues, along with his considered advice. The second part of the talk will focus on his personal stories and lessons learned (good and bad) from involvement in several startups.
Mr. Swanson is a director, advisor, and participant in a variety of industrial, academic, entrepreneurial, government, and non-profit activities. He is a research affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a consultant at Draper Laboratory, and an advisor in the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. In addition, he does a variety of volunteer activities, and is editor of www.octnews.org. Mr. Swanson is a co-founder or founding board member of five companies and is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has authored approximately 200 technical papers and conference presentations and holds about 35 U.S. patents and numerous foreign patents
Presented annually, the António Champalimaud Vision Award recognizes contributions to overall vision research and to the alleviation of visual impairments. Swanson and his collaborators were recognized for the invention of optical coherence tomography, which has had a massive impact on treatment of eye disease around the world and is one of the top ophthalmic inventions in the last 25 years. Throughout the world, it is estimated that more than 40-million diagnostic procedures are performed with optical coherence tomography annually.
Mr. Swanson holds a B.S. summa cum laude in Electrical Engineering from UMass Amherst and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT.
The Shirley and Ting-wei Tang Endowment Lecture Series brings leaders of engineering-based companies to campus to interact with students and faculty and present a major talk. Shirley Tang is a retired academic advisor for the United Asia Learning Resource Center. Emeritus Professor Ting-wei Tang recently completed a remarkable and distinguished career of 38 years at UMass Amherst. An internationally recognized expert in numerical modeling of semiconductor devices, Professor Tang was elected as an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow in 1999. He received the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Award from UMass Amherst. (October 2013)