Berkeley Engineering

Spring 2003


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Google's Schmidt takes center stage at tech event


Four engineering alumni honored for exemplary careers


Alumnus Jurafsky wins coveted MacArthur Fellowship


An engineering approach to preventing HIV in women

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Google’s Eric Schmidt takes center stage at tech event

Eric Schmidt image

Schmidt’s 20-year career in software development, management, and marketing was launched with degrees from Berkeley engineering and included stints at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Bell Labs, and Sun Microsystems before he landed at Google.

Eric Schmidt (M.S. ’79, Ph.D.’82 EECS) has seen the future and "it’s frighteningly smart."

The chairman and CEO of Google, Inc. — the world’s fourth most popular Web destination — addressed nearly 200 Berkeley engineering alumni, students, and guests at the third annual Berkeley in Silicon Valley Symposium. Held in March at the Sun Santa Clara Conference Center, the symposium explored new directions in science and technology.

Schmidt’s keynote address opened the symposium, which showcased Berkeley engineering and chemistry faculty and an afternoon panel discussion entitled Homeland Security and Privacy: Can We Strike the Right Balance? featuring experts from industry, government, and academia.

"The next generation of 20-somethings is frighteningly smart. I’m really glad they work for me," joked Schmidt in a spirited and entertaining talk on technology’s past, present, and future. The tech bubble of the mid-1990s is unlikely to repeat itself, he predicted, and as a CEO he is troubled by the tech sector’s drop in profits. But with the high level of innovation percolating in technology, particularly in universities, he expressed optimism that the "clever entrepreneurs" will drive a recovery for the ailing industry.

Engineering faculty presenters included Lisa Alvarez-Cohen and Daniel Kammen speaking on the environment, Boris Rubinsky on medicine, and Eric Brewer and David Wagner on cybersecurity. The afternoon panel discussion addressed the national focus on homeland security; the intersection of public needs and private rights; and the role of government, academia, and business in gathering information and protecting individual privacy. Panelists included Teresa Lunt, a scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center; Charles Shank, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Mark Kvamme, Berkeley alumnus and partner at Sequoia Capital venture capital firm in Menlo Park; EECS professor and cybersecurity expert Doug Tygar; and panel moderator Shankar Sastry, EECS chairman and professor.

Sun Microsystems donated its facility for the event, which was sponsored by the Colleges of Chemistry and Engineering. To see Schmidt’s keynote address and engineering faculty presentations, go to our multimedia gallery at

Angela Privin, editor of Engineering News, contributed to this story.

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