The great Taylor Ham vs. Pork Roll debate may never be settled, but did you know that Taylor Ham was created in Trenton in 1856? Or that Albert Einstein left Nazi Germany in 1933 to live in Princeton and continue his research? Or that the lightbulb was patented by Thomas Edison in 1880 and we named an entire Central NJ town after him?
Central New Jersey — and yes, it does exist — is not only the center of our great state but also the center of our innovation economy. From biotechnology and electronics to the development of new sources of renewable energy, the Route 1 corridor in Central New Jersey was called “Einstein’s Alley” by former Congressman Rush Holt for a reason. It’s long been a worldwide economic driver of innovation. And that tradition continues today, anchored by two of the world’s great research universities — Rutgers and Princeton. The inventions that have come out of Einstein’s Alley have profoundly transformed our society for the better.

But the best is yet to come.

This is the time for Central New Jersey to expand on its rich history of innovation
through new advances in computer chip manufacturing, new fusion energy companies
engaged in developing the ultimate clean energy source, and further nurturing
pharmaceutical and biotechnology research that made the state the “medicine chest of
the world.”
We can already see the expansion of Einstein’s Alley taking shape in the development
of the New Jersey Innovation and Technology Hub, a state-of-the-art research,
innovation and technology center under construction in New Brunswick. When
complete, “The Hub” will serve as the anchor of a vibrant economic/ technological
“alley” stretching down to Princeton and Trenton, creating high-paying and rewarding
jobs along the way.
Supplement those visionary plans with the recent announcement that the NJ Economic
Development Authority Evergreen Innovation Fund raised $40 million to be funneled
into New Jersey startup companies. The Evergreen Fund will help provide the capital needed
for these new companies to grow and thrive, transforming advances in life
sciences, health care, technology, energy and so much more.
And while most people know that Edison invented the lightbulb, few people are aware
that research to develop the ultimate source of clean energy began more than 70 years
ago in Central New Jersey, at the place where I work, the Princeton Plasma Physics
Laboratory (PPPL). Princeton University Professor Lyman Spitzer started the
worldwide effort to harness the power of the stars, fusion energy, at what is now
known as the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Plainsboro.
Today, PPPL is not only advancing the research needed to make fusion energy a
reality, we are spinning out new companies, helping to develop the next generation of
computer chip manufacturing and advance quantum computing, through new public-
private partnerships that advance our march toward 100% clean energy and will return
a part of Silicon Valley to its birthplace: New Jersey.
With the Hub and the Evergreen Fund leading the way, a highly-educated worker
pool, and outstanding research-rich universities, New Jersey doesn’t have to look
elsewhere to realize the dreams of an expanded and thriving high-tech corridor that
will energize our innovation economy, employ our people and make our state and
nation stronger in the long run. New Jersey, with its long legacy of technological and
scientific achievement, is moving those possibilities closer to realities.
Welcome to Einstein’s Alley – the heart of innovation in Central New Jersey
State Senator Andrew Zwicker represents the 16th Legislative District, which is
located in the middle of Einstein’s Alley. Zwicker is a physicist and the head of
Strategic Partnerships at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.