Irvine has long been a world leader in science, medicine and technology.

1. Speed of Light

WHAT: Nobel Prize winner Albert Michelson built a mile‐long vacuum tube on The Irvine Ranch in the early 1900s to accurately measure the speed of light.

QUOTE: “Without your work, this theory (of relativity) would today be scarcely more than an interesting speculation.” – Albert Einstein

FUN FACT: Michelson Drive is named in honor of this pioneer.



2. Heart Valves

WHAT: Edwards Lifesciences invented the first successful heart valve and has since helped more than 2 million patients worldwide.

QUOTE: “We don’t like to just take little steps but to really do some of these transformational steps that change the way medicine is practiced, that no one has ever done before.” – Edwards Lifesciences CEO Michael Mussallem (left)

FUN FACT: Edwards Lifesciences is the county’s largest publicly traded company.

3. HTTP://

WHAT: Roy Fielding was a software researcher at UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences in 1993 when he authored a new way to retrieve and view documents on the internet. The hypertext transfer protocol – known as HTTP – changed the internet forever.

QUOTE: “I knew the web would be the printing press of the internet age.” – Roy Fielding

FUN FACT: Fielding’s dissertation on HTTP is one of the most referenced dissertations on the web.

4. Gaming Revolution

WHAT: Blizzard Entertainment’s “World of Warcraft,” released in 2004, became the most popular massive multiplayer online role‐playing game ever, grossing more than $9 billion. It made Blizzard the world’s most successful video game developer, and Irvine a player in the $152 billion‐a‐year gaming industry.

QUOTE: “Ten years from now Irvine will be remembered as a pioneer of this industry.” – Jon Rettinger, president of TechnoBuffalo

FUN FACT: Blizzard employees earn ceremonial steins, swords, shields and battle masks to commemorate years of service at the company.

5. Virtual Reality

WHAT: After Palmer Luckey launched Oculus VR in his parents’ garage, Facebook acquired his Irvine‐based company for $2.3 billion. His Oculus Rift virtual reality headset created the consumer virtual reality industry.

QUOTE: “Don’t be afraid to convince yourself that your business is incredible, but don’t expect others to be convinced without solid data.” – Palmer Luckey

FUN FACT: Luckey used Kickstarter to initially fund Oculus VR. He sought $250,000 and got $2.4 million.