Kurt Petersen received his BS degree cum laude in EE from UC Berkeley in 1970.  In 1975, he received a PhD in EE from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dr. Petersen established a micromachining research group at IBM from 1975 to 1982, during which he wrote the review paper “Silicon as a Mechanical Material,” published in the IEEE Proceedings (May 1982).  This paper is still the most frequently referenced work in the field of micromachining and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).

Since 1982, Dr. Petersen has co-founded six successful companies in MEMS technology, Transensory Devices Inc. in 1982, NovaSensor in 1985 (now owned by Amphenol), Cepheid in 1996 (now a public company on NASDAQ: CPHD), SiTime in 2004 (acquired by MegaChips in Japan), Profusa in 2008 (still private), and Verreon in 2009 (acquired by Qualcomm). 

In 2011, Dr. Petersen joined the Silicon Valley Band of Angels.  The Band is an angel investment group which mentors and invests in early stage, high-tech, start-up companies.  Today, he spends most of his time helping and mentoring such companies.

Dr. Petersen has published over 100 papers, and has been granted over 35 patents in the field of MEMS.  In 2001 he was awarded the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal for his contributions to MEMS.  Dr. Petersen is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a Life Fellow of the IEEE in recognition of his contributions to “the commercialization of MEMS technology”.