For the third consecutive year, Apple tops the list of most innovative companies.
America's Future: From Education to the God-Particle
Politicians, heads of state, and policy makers appeared on stage to be interviewed by some of today's most recognizable journalists and thinkers. Charlie Rose interviewed Mitch Daniels, David Bradley interviewed Pervez Musharraf, and Bob Schieffer interviewed Stanley McChrystal.
Some of the most engaging dialogue took place around the question of America's future - both it's relationship to the world order and it's domestic policies. Is the 2012 election of critical significance for the economy? Should Medicare be expanded? What should our role in Afghanistan be after 2014? These were just a few of the questions discussed over the course of three hours.
One of the afternoon's impassioned speakers was economist Lawrence Summers, who spoke with Financial Times U.S. managing editor Gillian Tett on education and the legacy Americans are leaving their children. "How can it make sense that we tell our kids that nothing is more important than their education, and in a number of states they only go to school for four days a week?" asked Summers.
"What I cannot understand is why people think what we have left for our children is measured by the number of dollars in national debt -- that it's not measured by decency of schools or bequeathing infrastructure that is repaired, or bequeathing them a world in which American leadership has been perpetuated."
Summers called education in American an issue that demands investment in order to grow the economy, even if some believe increased government spending will only exacerbate national debt.
"Even if you accept that premise, truth is, that if we increase the growth rate of our economy by one percent over the next five years, that's three trillion dollars less in national debt," said Summers. "If we are successful in stimulating our economy, it's not going to even leave behind a greater debt burden."
Later in the afternoon, physicist Brian Greene took the conversation in a much different direction, reminding the audience that on July 4th, scientists at CERN Laboratory in Switzerland will be making an announcement about their research on the Large Hadron Collider, and could confirm they have discovered the "God Particle."
"Why should you care?" asked Greene.
He referenced the discovery of quantum mechanics in the early 20th century, at the time considered abstract and theoretical with little practical applications. But understanding quantum mechanics enabled people to send electrons through wires, giving rise to computers and advanced medical equipment, among a multitude of other advancements.
Sure, economics, politics, international relations are of great importance, but they are also transitory, Greene told the audience. "Fundamental discoveries [about the universe] can have a profound impact on the way we live our lives," he said. "It's hard for me to imagine anything more thrilling than that."