Dr. Nathan Myhrvold is chief executive officer and a founder of Intellectual Ventures, a firm dedicated to creating and investing in inventions. In addition to stimulating the invention of others, Myhrvold is himself an active inventor, with nearly 250 patents issued or pending—including several related to food technology.
Before founding his invention company, Dr. Myhrvold was the first chief technology officer at Microsoft, where he worked for 14 years in a variety of capacities, including co-managing the development of both Windows and Microsoft Office. In 1991 he established Microsoft Research, and during his tenure he oversaw many advanced technology projects. He left Microsoft in 1999 to pursue several interests, including a lifelong interest in cooking and food science.
When he was nine years old, the young Myhrvold flambéed a Thanksgiving feast for his family based on recipes from The Pyromaniac’s Cookbook. Building on this and other culinary successes, he competed on a team that won first place in several categories at the 1991 World Championship of Barbecue, including first prize in the special pasta category for a recipe that Myhrvold developed on the day of the contest.
After working nights for two years as a stagier at Seattle’s top French restaurant, Rover’s, Dr. Myhrvold completed culinary training with renowned chef Anne Willan at the Ecole De La Varenne. In addition, he has worked as Chief Gastronomic Officer for Zagat Survey, publisher of the popular Zagat restaurant guidebooks. Through his many visits to the world’s top restaurants, Dr. Myhrvold has become personally acquainted with many of the leading modernist chefs and the science-inspired cooking techniques they have pioneered.
Dr. Myhrvold is himself an accomplished practitioner of modernist cuisine. He has contributed original research on cooking sous vide (under vacuum) to online culinary forums, and his sous vide techniques have been covered in the New York Times Magazine, American Way, The Sacramento Bee, and Wired, and were recently featured on PBS’s “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” television series.
Myhrvold’s formal education in science began with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UCLA and continued with a master’s degree in geophysics and space physics at that university. He then attended Princeton University, where he earned a master’s degree in mathematical economics and a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics. In his post-doctoral work at Cambridge University, Dr. Myhrvold worked on quantum theories of gravity with the renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking.
An avid nature and wildlife photographer, Myhrvold’s work is featured in the books America 24/7 and Washington 24/7 and has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum. He is currently combining his expertise in science, photography, and cooking in a new book that he is producing on the science, technology, and techniques used in modern cuisine.