Dr. Pompei holds BS and MS degrees from MIT and SM and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard, and has been a serial disrupter in both science and business throughout his career.
As a graduate student at MIT he formulated a new model of pollution creation in combustion processes that made it possible for automobiles to have cleaner engine emissions to meet the new EPA limits established in 1970. His published scientific paper is now part of textbooks, and used to this day to help engineers design cleaner combustion systems. In his first job in research, Dr. Pompei was the principle engineer in designing an actual automobile that was the first to meet the 1970 clean air requirements, disrupting a skeptical automotive industry insisting that the clean air standards could be met, and unleashing the industry to accomplish the goal.
Starting his first business at age 31 as a consultant, Dr. Pompei was asked by Harvard University to provide new ideas for energy saving methods to respond to the huge increase in energy costs of the early 1980’s. He developed new science of the behavior of air and water in pipes, which made it possible for Harvard to dramatically reduce its costs to heat and cool all of its labs and buildings. Harvard succeeded and had the most significant energy savings of any institution in the US. Dr. Pompei then consulted for a manufacturer in applying his new science, which led to a new product line and a major disruption in the industry for water-based heating and cooling systems. His published paper earned the Willis Carrier Award, named after the inventor of air conditioning, from the industry association ASHRAE.
Dr. Pompei required more accurate heat and temperature data than were available at the time, in order to design energy savings programs at Harvard that were certain to work. Accordingly, he developed a new science of infrared sensors that could serve this purpose. He published this work as patents, with the intention of building a new company to use this new science in products – Exergen Corporation. Harvard was the first customer for the shirt-pocket sized IR scanners, the smallest and least expensive ever designed, which changed an industry once again with a practical and accurate IR scanner that could be used by anyone in any industry. This is the product that launched the success of Exergen.
Exergen’s new industrial scanners stimulated new interest from the medical community for accurate and non-invasive means of measuring body temperature, and Dr. Pompei launched a major research program to study human thermoregulation and body temperature measurement. Exergen accepted an invitation to become part of the Boston Marathon Medical Team to monitor the runners’ temperature with new non-invasive methods, a role Exergen performed for 18 years. Lacking formal training in medical science, Dr. Pompei applied for and was accepted into a Harvard Ph.D. program, to learn what he needed in order to change the way the world takes temperature. Another disruption followed. His Ph.D. dissertation in cancer at old age demonstrated that cancer was not certain as people aged, and that cancer rates actually reduce dramatically after about age 80, disrupting a long held paradigm and changing patient care. Dr. Pompei continues to research and publish his work in cancer to this day, creating new disruptions in long held ideas in cancer.
Dr. Pompei successfully completed his Ph.D. and found the answers he needed to design an entirely new method of accurate and non-invasive body temperature measurement, which became the most successful product in Exergen’s history and the most successful thermometer in history, changing the way the world takes temperature.
Dr. Pompei’s serial disruptions are chronicled in his nearly 100 patents, 70 published papers, and numerous awards, including 1988 Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, 2002 New England Innovation Award, and 2006 Business Excellence Award.