X Prize founder encourages students to €˜follow their dreams

By Alexia Boyarsky

The man who created the prize that inspired private space travel urged students Monday to make a career of doing what they love.

Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation, spoke to an overflowing Rugby Auditorium in an optional science assembly on Monday.

The X Prize Foundation aims to bring about radical breakthroughs in technology by putting up large cash prizes to provide incitement for inventors, he said.

Diamandis first came up with the idea for the company when a friend of his gave him a copy of the book “The Spirit of St. Louis.” The book describes the journey of Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic. Lindbergh was originally motivated by a $25,000 cash prize put up by Raymond Orteig.

“If you put up an audacious cash prize,” Diamandis said, “people will do what you want them to do.”

The Ansari X Prize, one of the awards that was given to a private company for an invention, required a space shuttle to be built that could carry three passengers 100 kilometers into space then bring them back down and fly again in a week. The $10 million prize was the largest in history, and the winners were the first private company to build and launch a spacecraft, according to the X Prize Foundation website.

“That was another one of the things that people told me was impossible,” Diamandis said, “I just didn’t listen to them.”

Another of Diamandis’ companies is the Rocket Racing League. The company is developing a racing sport pitting high speed planes against each other. While sitting at a car race with a friend, Diamandis said he grew bored, and from there the idea of the Rocket Racing League was born.

“When I get bored,” he said, “I think of putting rocket engines on the back of things.”

Diamandis believes that none of his accomplishments could have been possible had he not followed his heart and chosen a career he loved.

“I’m one of those people who loves to go to work,” he said. “Every day I get to play and do amazing things.”

He also has never listened to people who tell him what he cannot do.

“When someone says it can’t be done, maybe it means they can’t do it, but maybe you can,” he said.