2018 Erich Bloch Symposium

June 4 - 5, 2018 | Buffalo, NY

Our annual symposium is dedicated to the late Erich Bloch, former director of the National Science Foundation who helped endow the Department of Materials Design and Innovation at UB.

A selection of keynote speakers, moderators and panelists at the 2017 Erich Bloch Symposium.

(From left) Krishna Rajan, Erich Bloch Chair and Empire Innovation Professor, Department of Materials Design and Innovation, University at Buffalo, C. Daniel Mote, Jr., President, National Academy of Engineering, William C. Harris, President and CEO, Science Foundation Arizona, Rita R. Colwell, Distinguished Professor, University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, President and Chairman of CosmosID, Inc., and 11th Director of the NSF, Robert W. Corell, Principal, Global Environment Technology Foundation.


About Erich Bloch

Erich Bloch (January 9, 1925 – November 25, 2016) was a German-born American electrical engineer and administrator. He was involved with developing IBM’s first transistorized supercomputer, 7030 Stretch, and mainframe computer, System/360. He served as director of the National Science Foundation from 1984 to 1990.

Bloch, the son of a Jewish businessman and housewife, lost his parents in the Holocaust, survived the war in a refugee camp in Switzerland and immigrated in 1948 to the United States. He studied electrical engineering at ETH Zurich and received his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Buffalo.

Bloch joined IBM after graduating in 1952. He was engineering manager of IBM’s STRETCH supercomputer system and director of several research sites during his career. In June 1984, Ronald Reagan nominated Bloch to succeed Edward Alan Knapp as director of the National Science Foundation. The same year, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. In 1985, Bloch was awarded one of the first National Medals of Technology and Innovation along with Bob O. Evans and Fred Brooks for their work on the IBM System/360.

After stepping down as director of the National Science Foundation, Bloch joined the Council on Competitiveness as its first distinguished fellow. The IEEE Computer Society awarded him the Computer Pioneer Award in 1993 for high speed computing. In 2002, the National Science Board honored Bloch with the Vannevar Bush Award. He was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum in 2004 “for engineering management of the IBM Stretch supercomputer, and of the Solid Logic Technology used in the IBM System/360, which revolutionized the computer industry.”

In 2014, Bloch donated $1.5 million to the University at Buffalo to establish the Erich Bloch Endowed Chair for the new Department of Materials Design and Innovation.




Latest Announcements

Mark your calendars! This year's Erich Bloch Symposium will be held June 4-5, 2018 in Buffalo, NY. This year's theme is Materials in a Regenerative Economy. More details to come!

This year we are pleased to feature a pre-symposium STEM Master Teachers Climate Change Workshop, Saturday, June 2nd. Details coming soon.

This year's symposium will be directly followed by the CoRE Change Agent Summit, Wednesday, June 6th. This post-symposium event is your chance to learn about inclusive innovation in the solar industry.

Event Information

Date: June 2-6, 2018
Buffalo, NY

Event Start Date: June 4, 2018