Bob Metcalfe, who helped pioneer the Internet, then founded 3Com Corporation, the billion-dollar networking company, will be the first speaker in the Energy Entrepreneurship and Innovation Speaker Series at Virginia Tech.

He will speak on "Enernet: Lessons from 62 years of Internet history for how to meet world needs for cheap and clean energy," on Friday, Nov. 21, at 4 p.m. in the Assembly Hall at the Holtzman Alumni Center.

Metcalfe's visit is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Virginia Tech College of Engineering (, the NewVa Corridor Technology Council, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Alumni Club of the Blue Ridge. "An important aim of our energy initiatives at Virginia Tech is to promote economic development in the region, the commonwealth, and the nation,” said Don Leo, special assistant to the vice president for research for energy initiatives. "Bob Metcalfe has considerable experience in transitioning cutting-edge technology to commercial products. We are looking forward to hearing his ideas on how innovations in energy technology can be transitioned to the marketplace."

"Metcalfe takes a unique look into the future of energy from the vantage point of the evolution of networking and the Internet. His grasp of numerous technologies is remarkable, and he uses his knowledge and insights to develop a compelling progression of ideas," said Roger O'Dell, president of the MIT Alumni Club of the Blue Ridge and Metcalfe's former classmate.

According to the Computer History Museum (, "Bob Metcalfe led invention, standardization, and commercialization of the Ethernet local-area networking system for personal computers (PCs). In 1972, Metcalfe joined the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (where he and David Boggs) invented and developed the Ethernet local-area network (LAN) and its system of packet protocols, which have proliferated and evolved to become today's Internet plumbing. In 1979, Metcalfe founded 3Com Corporation (which) developed PC LAN products based on emerging UNIX, TCP/IP, and Ethernet standards."

Metcalfe, who is now a general partner with Polaris Venture Partners, was chief executive officer of IDG's InfoWorld Publishing Company for 10 years and author of the books, Packet Communication, Beyond Calculation, and Internet Collapses. He serves on the boards of Polaris-backed start-ups including 1366, Ember, Greenfuel, Infinite Power Solutions, Mintera, SiCortex, and SiOnyx. And is advisor to the MIT Energy Initiative.

Metcalfe said of his Enernet initiative, "After 38 years as an Internet innovator, 10 years as a pundit, and with my wife, Robyn, a Ph.D. student in history, I decided to look back into Internet history for lessons on how to solve energy. I decided to try to be helpful by going on this informal ENERNET speaking tour during 2008. At each stop on the tour, I invite listeners to join me in mining Internet history for guidance on how to approach energy. You are so invited."

Awards include the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Medal of Honor, Marconi Prize, and National Medal of Technology. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997, the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows in 2008.

Metcalfe graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 with two bachelor's degrees, in electrical engineering and in industrial management. He received a master's degree in applied mathematics from Harvard University in 1970 and a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard, where his dissertation was Packet Communication.


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