No. 428: On supergravity, winning wines and power plays – plus, market smarts for innovators

Little bang theory: A Higgs boson explodes into hadron jets and electrons … or something. We don't know. But supergravity is huge.


Friday on your mind: The five-day plight ends once more, dear readers, as we wrap up another week of socioeconomic innovation and welcome another warm, well-earned weekend.

On that note, put your hands together for … the Easybeats!

Going native: The world’s indigenous populations take center stage today.

Here first: It’s Aug. 9 on Long Island and around the world, marking the UN’s annual International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which sticks up for the estimated 370 million natives who account for 5 percent of the human population – and 15 percent of global poverty.

In the States, today is both National Book Lovers Day and National Rice Pudding Day, so your low-key Friday night is all set.

Lean on me: It would take two centuries to complete – and they might have missed something along the way – but the construction of a new bell tower in the Italian town of Pisa began on Aug. 9, 1173.

Speaking of Italian landmarks, the Sistine Chapel (yes, it’s technically in the Vatican) held its first mass on this date in 1483.

No walls necessary: The Webster-Ashburton Treaty – which formalized the border between the United States and the British North American colonies, the region that became Canada – was signed on Aug. 9, 1842.

Life in the Woods: Still a manual for self-reliance and an homage to simple living, author Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” was first published on this date in 1854.

Check, balances: To the chagrin of forgers, Rochester inventor Libanus McLouth patented his Protectograph check-writing machine on Aug. 9, 1904.

Other U.S. patents issued on this date include one in 1910 for Chicago inventor Alva Fisher’s “Drive Mechanism For Washing Machines,” which didn’t invent washers but significantly improved them.

Know your Otises: Elisha Otis gets all the glory, thanks to a safety break that turned elevators from deathtraps into viable passenger lifts – but it was actually innovator Otis Tufts who invented the passenger elevator, and he has an Aug. 9, 1859, patent to prove it.

That’s lunch: Larger-than-life birthday boy Robert Shaw (and Bruce) take a break.

He came, he Shaw: Best known as the grizzled fishing boat captain in Steven Spielberg’s classic “Jaws,” Hollywood great Robert Shaw (1927-1978) – who also played a Bond villain, the heavy in “The Sting” and other memorable parts in his short but illustrious career – would be 92 years old today.

Also born on Aug. 9 were English engineer and early railroading pioneer Joseph Locke (1805-1860); Elizabeth Lane (1905-1988), the first woman judge on the High Court of Justice in England (the British Supreme Court); American aerospace pioneer Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008), a Cherokee Nation citizen and the first known Native American female engineer; and Marvin Minsky (1927-2016), an American biochemist and founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project.

Doug deep: And take a bow, Doug Williams – the first black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl (leading the Washington Redskins to victory in 1988’s Super Bowl XXII) turns 64 today.

Wish these and all the other Aug. 9 innovators a happy birthday at – story tips and calendar items always appreciated, please and thank you.


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Red, white and rose’: Climate and skill helped Long Island wineries bring home eight Double Gold awards in the 2019 New York Wine Classic.

A toast: Long Island Wine Country shined in the 2019 New York Wine Classic, the 34th annual sip-off organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

This year’s competition included 883 New York wines from 113 different wineries, with a total of 31 Double Gold, 56 Gold, 278 Silver and 320 Bronze medals awarded by a panel of wine writers, retailers, restaurateurs and other vino experts. Finger Lakes vineyards captured the competition’s two most prestigious honors, the Governor’s Cup and Winery of the Year awards, but Long Island wineries held their own.

Mattituck’s Harbes Vineyard (Best Sparkling Wine) and Cutchogue’s Coffee Pot Cellars (Best Rosé) captured “Best of Category” titles, with “Best in Class” wins for each – Best Syrah and Best Traditional-Method Sparkling for Harbes, Best Rosé for Coffee Pot – and for Cutchogue’s Lieb Cellars (Best Oaked Chardonnay, Best Overall Chardonnay), Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard (Best Medium Dry Riesling), Peconic’s Lenz Winery (Best Pinot Gris, Best Cabernet Sauvignon), Laurel’s Clovis Point Vineyard (Best Merlot, Best Other Red Vinifera Varietal) and Peconic’s Osprey’s Dominion (Best Red Vinifera Blend). The complete list of 2019 Wine Classic winners is available here.

This is a job for supergravity: A Stony Brook University physics professor has been recognized for a fundamental discovery made four decades ago.

Peter van Nieuwenhuizen, a Distinguished Professor of Physics in SBU’s College of Arts and Sciences, was this week named one of three winners of a $3 million Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, which recognizes profound research by theoretical, mathematical and experimental physicists. Along with co-investigators Daniel Freedman – who at the time graced the faculties of MIT, Stanford University and SBU – and Sergio Ferrara of CERN, van Nieuwenhuizen was honored for the invention of “supergravity,” a highly influential 1976 theory that helped redefine spacetime.

The theory marked a major turning point for modern physics, according to Princeton-based theoretical physicist Edward Whitten, chairman of the Breakthrough Prize selection committee. “The discovery of supergravity was the beginning of including quantum variables in describing the dynamics of spacetime,” Whitten said Tuesday.



A hop and a jump: With a call-up to Citi Field, CEBIP startup Hoplite Power is looking to become a major-league player in the smartphone-charging game.

Discovery phase: Eight healthcare startups came face-to-face with industry execs and future customers at a Hofstra/NuHealth “Customer Discovery Day.”

Pass it on: Please share this informative and entertaining newsletter with your fellow innovators – and encourage them to subscribe for free, because you’re not, like, the mailroom intern, for criminy sake.



Reinforcements for the Hempstead Village PD, high praise for marijuana decriminalization.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational ideas from all North American corners. This week’s brightest out-of-town innovations:

Sea hunt: Ocean Outreach, on the job.

From New York City: Nonprofit Ocean Outreach is on the hunt for 52 lost WWII submarines, using 3D imaging and other cutting-edge tech.

From Connecticut: Shelton-based virus hunter NanoViricides hurries its first “nanomedicine” drug – a potential shingles treatment – toward human trials.

From Colorado: Denver-based 3D-modeling leader Concept3D introduces a “night map” for enhanced safety on college and professional campuses.



Jerry Siegelman

+ Jerry Siegelman, a partner at Uniondale-based Ruskin Moscou Faltischek P.C. concentrating on commercial real estate transactions, has been named co-chairman of the firm’s Real Estate Department.

+ Tiffani Blake has been hired as interim dean of students at New York Institute of Technology. She previously served as dean of students at The College of New Rochelle.

+ Jennifer DiMaio has been appointed director of instructional services in the Valley Stream Central High School District. She is chairwoman of English as a New Language and World Languages at Valley Stream North High School.

+ Garden City-based L’Abbate, Balkan, Colavita & Contini has announced two new hires: Adreama Mackey-Ponte has been hired as an associate in the Insurance Industry Group; she previously served as a litigation fellow at Garden City-based Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. Debbie Morken has been hired as of counsel in the Attorney Liability Group; she previously served as an associate at Uniondale-based Farrell Fritz.

+ Joanne Vincent has been appointed assistant director of pupil personnel services in the Seaford School District. She previously held the same position in the Port Washington School District.

+ Ty Gamble has been hired as a patient services liaison at Commack-based Avery Biomedical Devices. He previously served as a community habilitator at Long Beach-based AIM Services.

+ David Bush has been promoted to director of the Reichert Planetarium at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport. He previously served as the planetarium’s technical and production coordinator.



Ain’t that a pip: Fine dining, bibs included.

Hot: Four sizzling startups out to reinvent restaurants.

Cold: The race to build the first wearable air conditioner.

Hot or cold: Ever try Vietnamese egg coffee? You will.

Just right:  The Town of Islip Office of Economic Development, one of the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, always knows the temperature of the local business scene. Check them out.