Among the most important universities in the world, Harvard, MIT, and Boston University create a close triangle, enclosing Boston’s secret. The city’s wealth springs from the science created at its center, a place without equal in the field of scientific research. The development of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, biotechnology, sustainable energy, and medical sciences will dictate future global progress.
Boston is certainly hurtling toward the future, there is no doubt about that. And its position will only improve as the need for new scientific— especially biological— progress becomes ever more apparent to the general public. Boston has, and has always possessed and endeavored to nurture the fundamental ingredients of this recipe: the best universities, the best hospitals, and venture capital. Boston has cherished education since the very first colonists arrived on its shores, and the value its citizens have placed on learning form the core of the region’s ethno-cultural development. Unlike other areas in early colonial America, the seat of power laid in the hands of the educated as opposed to a primacy placed on landownership; since the time of the Puritans, Boston has housed some of the most educated communities in the country. This is not a combination that will be easily challenged, as it has been in operation for hundreds of years. Not to mention, this is not California. You have to want to be here in order to survive the harsh New England winters.
Talented students and professors arrive from all over the world, multinationals establish research centers, and start-ups borne from academic labs set up shop in new buildings that are springing up like weeds. Federal funds from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DoE) flow liberally to the area, an estimated $4 to 5 billion per year that combine with private foundations and the universities’ own funds, which are also in the order of hundreds if not thousands of millions of dollars. The city is increasingly beautiful, a mix of modern skyscrapers and historic buildings. General Electric is moving its headquarters to the futuristic Seaport district in front of the old port whose warehouses have been converted to lofts and office spaces. Popular buildings in South Boston, which was dangerous until only a few years ago, have been modernized and now house scientists from all over the world. Real estate prices are skyrocketing; at this point Boston is more expensive that New York, and its continuing at a breakneck pace that’s even scaring Silicon Valley. The new scientists, managers, and professors—in demand on a global scale—negotiate their salaries, and here they are demanding the best for themselves and their children’s schools. Unemployment is nonexistent. Demand for qualified professionals is chronically greater than the supply. Not even the 2008/2009 financial crisis interrupted Boston’s race toward the future. The possibility of hosting the Olympics was rejected like an old toy, and here we are witnessing a crazy race ahead with the absolute certainty that science is now more than ever the solution to many problems in a world that needs a new technological revolution to increase productivity and improve quality of life. Anyone like me that has never passionately studied science, chemistry, or physics is searching for a seat on the bleachers to observe this race and grasp any concept in order to place a bet. You have to put your money on many horses in order to find a “unicorn,” like the times I was a child and ran to place my fifty cent bets after overhearing the adults.