I was surprised to read in today’s Washington Post that SAIC has decided to sell off the Tysons headquarters complex. It appears to me that SAIC is being dismantled piece by piece in anticipation of the split into two separate companies.
Depending on the terms of the sale, there will likely be a short-term boost to the bottom line of both SAIC and Leidos which may help ease the transition to two companies, at least in the eyes of shareholders. This boost won’t last. The present dismemberment of SAIC is a great disappointment to me; it is very difficult for me to watch.
I would like to congratulate University of Michigan College of Engineering student Katherine Sebeck on her selection as a 2013-2014 fellow for the J. Robert Beyster Computational Innovation Graduate Fellows Program. During her time as a fellow, it is my understanding that Katherine will pursue computational materials simulations of the dynamic polymerization of the epoxy/graphite interface.
This work could have implications for improvements in the area of fuel efficiency. I hope to have the opportunity to meet Katherine when I return to Michigan this fall for Homecoming.
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I see that J. Craig Venter Institute recently announced a gift that Betty and I made to the organization. The gift will be used to help complete construction of the Institute’s sustainable laboratory and programs in microbial genomics in marine environments.
It’s no secret that I have long been an admirer of Craig and the work that his talented team is doing on a variety of scientific fronts. It is good to see this kind of pure scientific research being done here in San Diego, and I look forward to seeing the results of their work.
I was pleased to meet with Mike Daniels here in La Jolla a few weeks ago. He was here to discuss our progress on the Network Solutions book, which is now in production with our publisher. My understanding is that the book will be available no later than July. I am hoping that the second edition of The SAIC Solution will also be available soon after that, hopefully by September.
The FED has set up a Twitter account for the NSI book. If you are interested in tracking our progress, you’ll find us at @NSIBook.
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Like everyone else this past week, I was shocked by the news of the Boston Marathon bombing, and I send my condolences to those with friends and family who were killed or injured. If it turns out that the perpetrators acted alone and not in direct contact with any foreign groups, then this kind of terrorist attack is extremely difficult to detect in advance and prevent.
Unfortunately, there are many people out there who wish to do our nation and our people harm. We cannot possibly prevent every single incident, though our track record since 9/11 has been a good one.
I saw on the news that two men were arrested today in Canada for plotting a terrorist attack against the Canadian railway. In this case, there was direction and guidance from al-Quida, which made detection possible before the terrorists could act.
Last week was an eventful one for me. On Tuesday, I was visited by Tony Moraco, who has been chosen to serve as the CEO of SAIC when the company is split into two parts later this year, SAIC and Leidos.
Tony seems to me like he’s a good leader and I think he has a good chance of making the new SAIC successful. I believe the company is going to be in good hands, and I am glad for that. I wish Tony well in the difficult task he is taking on.
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Betty and I were very sorry to get the news that our longtime friend Ed Frieman passed away last week. Ed was a theoretical physicist who served for some time as the director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography here in La Jolla, as well as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy.
Ed was a highly sought-after and respected advisor to the Departments of Defense and Energy and the intelligence community. Our nation will sorely miss his unbiased guidance on the physical sciences. He was a wonderful human being, and we wish his wife Joy and the rest of Ed’s family our deepest condolences.
If you have been following this blog, you know that the Foundation for Enterprise Development recently released a new film about Employee Ownership titled We the Owners. My daughter Mary Ann Beyster recently returned from a successful trip to Europe to promote the film within a variety of universities and business groups.
The FED has posted highlights of the eleven screenings in nine cities on Facebook. The FED and Passage Productions were also at We the Owners first public film festival, located in San Luis Obispo. Photos and highlights can be seen on the Facebook page.
From what I have heard from my daughter, interest in the film, and in employee ownership, was high. The Ohio Employee Ownership Center ran a cover story in the organization’s Spring 2013 issue of Owners @ Work in the form of a Q&A with Mary Ann about the film, how it came about, and what the FED hopes to achieve with it. I think you will find it of interest.
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According to a Washington Post article, nuclear energy in this country is again suffering a decline, mostly as a result of the high cost of building and maintaining nuclear facilities, and ongoing public concerns about safety. The safety issue was recently brought home for us here in San Diego when the San Onofre nuclear plant north of the city was shut down some time ago due to a release of radioactive gas and the discovery of unexpected wear to the metal tubes that carry water within the reactor steam generators.
I suspect that concerns about the safety of nuclear reactors in general can be solved, but it will be very expensive and difficult to attain in today’s economy. I would like to see nuclear power become a dominant force in our country, but the struggle may be too much, at least for the foreseeable future.
I am very pleased to see that some of the scientists I have worked with over the past few years are being recognized for their good work. A recent article in the New York Times mentioned the work that Jonathan Sebat, chief of the Beyster Center for Molecular Genomics of Neuropsychiatric Diseases at UCSD, has been doing in the area of unusual disruptions of chromosomes linked to certain psychiatric illnesses.
In another recent announcement, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation named the winners of its Marine Microbiology Initiative investigator awards. One of the 16 award recipients included Andy Allen, an outstanding young scientist who works with the J. Craig Venter Institute. A few years ago Andy and his team conducted ocean sampling from my boat Solutions off the coast of San Diego and they made some interesting discoveries.
I congratulate both of these researchers for their accomplishments.
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A few weeks ago I received an interesting letter from Professor Bradford Orr, chair of the Department of Physics at the University of Michigan. Bradford brought me up to date with some of the important work that his department is doing in a variety of different areas, including an exploration of dark matter using a 1.4 GHz radio telescope, work on the ATLAS particle physics experiment at CERN — which observed a new particle in July 2012 consistent with the Higgs boson predicted by the Standard Model of physics — and much more. I look forward to hearing more about what the Department of Physics is up to during the course of the upcoming year.