Jim Bray, chief scientist at GE, and his colleague Kathleen O’Brien allowed anyone to ask them those questions and any others last week during a Q&A on Reddit’s popular “IAmA” forum. The online platform features people who state their profession or other unique characteristics and allows users to ask them any question. President Obama once hosted an “IAmA” forum, for example.Bray opened the live forum with an introduction and said he and O’Brien were happy to answer any questions about smart phones, electric cars, cloud computing, smart grid technologies or anything else. Dozens of questions, including the following, were asked by people curious about such energy and technology subjects. And, yes, someone even asked the scientists if a flying car was coming soon. If you missed your chance to ask a question about science, Bray encourages comments and questions at his blog, Stump the Scientist, and he also is on Twitter at @stumpscientist.
Ajith Kumar, a GE consulting engineer, has had 200 Eureka moments – big and small, in his car and at the supermarket – that led to patents. (“I don’t know where it comes from,” he laughs. “But it’s not generally at work.) He lags behind Thomas Edison’s 1,093 U.S. patents but the number puts him on par with the GE’s most prolific modern innovators.
Trifon Laskaris is in rarefied company within the General Electric Co. The GE Global Research chief engineer, a pioneer in imaging technologies, recently was awarded his 200th U.S. patent. The last GE lab employee to reach that milestone — and the only other one for that matter — was Thomas Edison.
GE took its first stab at hosting a live Q&A on Reddit’s famed IAmA forum (read: I am a digital media expert, ask me anything, for example) beginning TODAY at 2pm EST. The IAmA forum reaches hundreds of thousands of readers daily and has featured the likes of President Obama and Bill Gates to Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion and Louis C.K. The IAmA will feature Jim Bray (GE’s chief scientist) as well as other GE researchers fielding questions from the Reddit community about the future of electricity. You can participate in this groundbreaking, real-time exchange where you can ask anything from “why did the lights go out at the Super Bowl?” to “when will all cars be powered by electricity?” and so on. Log on to Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/) and look for the IAmA that reads “We are the team of researchers and scientists at GE working on the ‘Future of Electricity.’ Ask Us Anything.” Join the conversation and ask away!
If people are judged by the company they keep, Jim Bray is doing just fine. Bray, a theoretical physicist at GE Global Research and a YouTube celebrity, counts among his colleagues and mentors two Nobel Prize winners, including John Bardeen, the only person to win the Nobel in physics twice: first for the transistors and the other for superconductivity. But here’s the thing about Jim: he’s just as happy to kick it on Reddit, where he will be taking questions on the IAmA open forum on May 2 next week, as he is hanging out with Nobelists.
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