Buderi, Robert 1954-
BUDERI, Robert 1954-
PERSONAL: Born September 26, 1954, in Berkeley CA; son of Fred F. (an importer) and Betty Lou (a social worker; maiden name, Krough) Buderi; married Nancy G. Walser, April 11, 1992; children: Kacey, Robert. Education: University of California, Davis, B.A., 1977; University of Arizona, M.J., 1978. Hobbies and other interests: Basketball, team sports.
ADDRESSES: Home—Cambridge, MA. Office—1 Main St., Cambridge, MA 02142. Agent—Raphael Sagalyn, 7201 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 675, Bethesda, MD 20814. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Editor and author. Daily Republic, Fairfield, CA, reporter of police news, 1977-79; Time Life News Service, San Francisco, CA, and Boston, MA, contributing reporter, 1980-88; contributor to magazines, including Money, 1982-90; Business Week, New York, NY and Boston, MA, technology editor, 1990-92; Upside, San Mateo, CA, columnist, 1998-2000; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Technology Review, contributing editor, 1998, editor-at-large, 2000-02, editor, 2002—. Served as consultant to Science at War, a documentary television series broadcast by British Broadcasting Corp., 1997-98. Has served as consultant for two History Channel programs on World War II. Member of advisory board of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships member selection committee, 1997—and member of the Visiting Committee for the Humanities, 2000-04, both MIT.
AWARDS, HONORS: Vannevar Bush fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986-87; (with others) National Magazine Award for the Quality Imperative, 1992; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, grants, 1992, 1996.
The Invention That Changed the World: How a Small Group of Radar Pioneers Won the Second World War and Launched a Technical Revolution, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996, Touchstone Books (New York, NY), 1998, reprinted as The Invention That Changed the World: The Story of Radar from War and Peace, Abacus (London, England), 1999.
Engines of Tomorrow: How the World's Best Companies Are Using Their Research Labs to Win the Future, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
Author of the column "Lab Watch," Upside, 1998-2000. Contributor of articles to magazines, including Atlantic Monthly, Economist, Money, Nature, Newsweek, Science, Sports Illustrated, and Time. Interview with Business Week Online Creative Director Arthur Eves is available on the Business Week Web site.
SIDELIGHTS: Robert Buderi has been a recognized figure in the field of technology for many years. Buderi has written extensively on various subjects related to technology, and was at one time a technology editor for Business Week, but has gained more recognition with the publication of two books, as well as the procurement of the position of editor at Technology Review, a renowned publication of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Buderi's first book, The Invention That Changed the World: How a Small Group of Radar Pioneers Won the Second World War and Launched a Technical Revolution, provides a history of the development of the microwave ray, its role in World War II, and its influence on modern technology. The majority of the book focuses on radar use in World War II and the extraordinary ways in which the radar changed warfare forever, including the development of warfare technologies such as air defense, antisubmarine equipment, and the ability to send bombs to precise locations from far distances. The book also highlights key inventors and implementers of radar and their personal stories, as well as the technological elements of present society that resulted from the development of radar.
In Armed Forces and Society, reviewer Maria Jose Moyano Rasmussen opposed Buderi's assertion that a "small group of pioneers won the second World War." She continued, "To claim that a single technology won the war … surely gives short shrift to the enormous contributions of other technologies….It also down plays the contributions of sheer mass and brute force." Rasmussen concluded, however, that "even if radar did not win the war single-handedly, Buderi paints a clear picture of unprecedented contributions across the spectrum of warfare." While Major Merrick Krause, like Rasmussen, found problems with the statement in Buderi's title, Krause suggested in the Air & Space Power Chronicles that the book is written in "a style that reads more like a story than a detailed analysis," and that The Invention That Changed the World is "an enjoyable and a rich account of scientific history…. [Buderi] blends his tale of history, civil-military affairs, and human interaction in an entertaining yet not oppressively academic fashion." Expressing a similar opinion of the book, a reviewer pointed out on the CEO Refresher Web site that, "For those whose science and physics are rusty, there are numerous anecdotes, particularly about World War II, that lighten the chapters that are heavier on technology." Booklist's Gilbert Taylor dubbed the book "a diligent, deserving work," and added, "For readers of war or space technology, Buderi puts plenty of flesh on the story's physical framework of wavelengths and azimuths."
In Engines of Tomorrow: How the World's Best Companies Are Using Their Research Labs to Win the Future, Buderi examines the relationship between use of industrial research in corporate labs and productivity of such technologically innovative corporations. Buderi interviewed innovators and inventors from top electronic, computer, and telecommunications companies, focusing specifically on the relationship of each corporation's laboratories to its corporate culture. He explains how those corporations that scaled back and restructured their labs in the 1990s, shifting funding from basic research toward research on technologies currently in consumer demand, are the corporations that have thrived. Buderi asserts that the best corporations never stopped researching, and that reorganizing laboratories was an essential step for these technological giants, who have dramatically increased productivity as a direct result. These corporations—IBM, Lucent, GE, Intel, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Siemens, and NEC—are currently integrating production and marketing in each step of the process, resulting in faster production of more consumer-tailored products.
Buderi's second book also provides extensive detail on the history of industrial and economic research, illustrating corporate culture's role through time. He also advocates the need for a better understanding of collective corporate histories and how those histories have affected current corporate economics. Buderi stresses the recognition of scientists and inventors as vital components of corporate culture. One American Scientist reviewer found the historical narrative and analysis of Engines of Tomorrow to be "gripping." While Wade Rousch, in a review of the book for the Technology Review, pointed out that the author "sometimes falls into the mixed metaphors endemic in the business world," Rousch admitted that this was a small complaint, stating overall that "Buderi's narrative is flowing and lucid, and contains just enough detail to satisfy historians without overwhelming lay readers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Scientist, July, 2000, review of Engines of Tomorrow: How the World's Best Companies Are Using Their Research to Labs to Win the Future, p. 358.
Analog Science Fiction & Fact, January, 2001, Tom Easton, "The Reference Library," review of Engines of Tomorrow, pp. 133-138.
Armed Forces and Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Maria Jose Moyano Rasmussen, spring, 1999, review of The Invention That Changed the World: How a Small Group of Radar Pioneers Won the Second World War and Launched a Technical Revolution, pp. 532-534.
Booklist, October 1, 1996, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Invention That Changed the World, p. 312; March 15, 2000, David Rouse, review of Engines of Tomorrow, p. 1305.
Dallas Business Journal, August 31, 2001, brief article on Engines of Tomorrow, p. 39.
Foreign Affairs, March-April, 1997, Eliot A. Cohen, review of The Invention That Changed the World, p. 179.
New Scientist, July 18, 1998, review of The Invention That Changed the World, p. 47; May 27, 2000, Kazuo Arima, "Fast Forward," review of Engines of Tomorrow, p. 48.
New York Times Book Review, May 3, 1998, review of The Invention That Changed the World, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, August 26, 1996, review of The Invention That Changed the World, pp. 86-87; April 3, 2000, review of Engines of Tomorrow, p. 72.
Research Technology Management, May-June, 2000, review of Engines of Tomorrow, p. 61.
Science Books and Films, November, 1999, review of The Invention That Changed the World, p. 273.
Sciences, November-December, 1996, Laurence A. Marschall, review of The Invention That Changed the World, p. 39.
Sloan Management Review, spring, 2000, Judith Maas, review of Engines of Tomorrow, p. 105.
Technology Review, May, 2000, Wade Roush, review of Engines of Tomorrow, p. 111.
Times Literary Supplement, January 23, 1998, review of The Invention That Changed the World, p. 36.
ABC Web site, http://www.abc.net.au/ (March 1, 2004), "Robert (Bob) Buderi."
Air & Space Power Chronicles, http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/ (March 1, 2004), review of The Invention That Changed the World.
American Scientist Web site, http://www.americanscientist.org/ (March 1, 2004), "Robert Buderi."
Book Booters Web site, http://www.bookbooters.com/ (March 1, 2004), description of Engines of Tomorrow.
Business Week Web site, http://www.businessweek.com/ (March 1, 2004), "Video Interviews: Robert Buderi" and synopsis of Engines of Tomorrow.
CEO Refresher Web site, http://www.refresher.com/ (March 1, 2004), review of The Invention That Changed the World.
Engines of Tomorrow Web site, http://www.enginesoftomorrow.com/ (March 3, 2003).
Naval Industry Partners Web site, http://www.navalindustryparteners.com/2002/bios/buderi.doc/ (March 1, 2004), "Robert Buderi, Editor at Large, Technology Review Magazine."
Palm Digital Media Web site, http://www.palmdigitalmedia.com/ (March 1, 2004), "Author: Robert Buderi."
Private Line Web site, http://www.privateline.com/ (March 1, 2004), excerpt from The Invention That Changed the World.
Technology Review Web site, http;//www.technologyreview.com/ (March 1, 2004), press release, "Technology Review Names Robert Buderi As Editor."
Tech Talk, http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt/ (June 5, 2002), "Buderi Named Editor of Technology Review."