ADVERTISEMENT
See Inside January 2008

Policy Leader of the Year: X Prize Foundation, Santa Monica, Calif.

The lure of multimillion-dollar prizes prompts inventors to pursue breakthroughs in space travel, DNA sequencing, automotive fuel efficiency, and robotics

In 1927 the aviation world marveled at Charles A. Lindbergh's nonstop flight from New York to Paris. Lindbergh was in it for more than thrills: he was after the $25,000 Orteig Prize. In a 21st-century encore, the 12-year-old nonprofit X Prize Foundation conceives and manages competitions for daring innovators.

The foundation's game plan is to define an exciting target that benefits humanity, bait it with a large stack of cash, and draw out the best in design and invention from private, nongovernmental teams. The competitors, the thinking goes, will invest much more in technology chasing the prestige of the prize than the foundation will hand out at the awards ceremony.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content


It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com.
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Special Universe

Get the latest Special Collector's edition

Secrets of the Universe: Past, Present, Future

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X