Dr. Todd H. Rider
Through reading about revolutionary innovators and innovations, Todd Rider was inspired from an early age to pursue a career in very innovative science research, ultimately winning the Grand Prize at the 1986 International Science and Engineering Fair and filing his first patent application at age 17. He studied at MIT and Harvard 1986–1995, covering electrical engineering, nuclear engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, physics, biomedicine, chemistry, applied mathematics, German, French, and other areas, and received his Ph.D. in 1995. He headed the DNA sequencing program at the startup biotechnology company Aeiveos 1995–1996, became Senior Staff Scientist at MIT Lincoln Laboratory 1997–2013, and served as senior Laboratory Technical Staff at Draper Laboratory 2013–2015. In 2015 he founded the RIDER (Revolutionary Innovation, Discovery, Education, and Research) Institute.
During his career, Dr. Rider has invented a much more efficient rocket staging system and worked on antimatter rocket engine approaches; developed and tested methods of coherently combining multiple laser beams into a more powerful laser beam; discovered fundamental limitations on controlled fusion reactors; invented and demonstrated the CANARY rapid pathogen identifier; invented and developed the DRACO and PANACEA broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics; written Forgotten Creators; and conducted research in various other areas. He has also worked to improve kindergarten through twelfth grade (K–12) science education, creating and running the MIT Science on Saturday program 2006–2018, writing educational guides for Science News magazine, judging state and national science fairs and competitions, and conducting presentations and hands-on lab activities on a wide range of science topics in K–12 classrooms in over 100 schools. Dr. Rider and his projects have been featured in Science, Nature Biotechnology, Time, Scientific American, Technology Review, National Geographic, Der Spiegel, the New York Times, NBC Nightly News, BBC, ZDF, Discovery Channel, and numerous other outlets.