Celebrating the 10th year of Pumps & Pipes, the day-long conference that brought hundreds of professionals in the energy, medicine and aerospace industries to ExxonMobil’s innovative campus in Spring and thousands that joined via the webcast. This year’s theme was “Matching Minds.” Prior to the conference, attendees answered a list of questions from “What are you innovating?” to “What is your favorite movie?” Jacobs Technologies took all of the responses, put them in a giant algorithm and spit out table assignments that linked like-minded attendees—kind of like eHarmony for networking. Pumps & Pipes continued to show that participating industries can utilize “tricks of the trade” from each other to solve problems on a small scale—from the intricacies of pediatric heart surgery, to unclogging a giant oil pipeline, to keeping tubes clear on the International Space Station. All of the presenters made the point that innovative technology is the key to uniting and solving all of these problems. A highlight of the conference was Larry DeLucas, O.D., Ph.D, professor in the School of Optometry and director of the Center for Structural Biology and Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He literally took his interest in protein crystallography out of this world as a payload specialist on the United States Microgravity Laboratory-1 flight, Mission STS-50, in June 1992. A fan favorite was James Tour, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, materials sciences, nano-engineering and computer science at Rice University, who has been able to find myriad uses for graphene—sheets of bonded carbon atoms. Conference attendees learned that carbon can be grown on just about any carbon life form, even the leg of a cockroach. As Pumps & Pipes moves into its next decade, Lumsden told the audience to look out for changes, including fundraising to launch projects that grow out of the collaboration of the three industries.
P&P 10 Program