Tuesday was 3-D Printing Day across the United States and that got left-hander Craig Breslow of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox excited. Reputed to be the smartest baseball player in the world, Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and he was accepted at NYU med school after scoring a 34 (28 is considered average) on his MCAT. But how can someone become a doctor when he can still get guys out in the major leagues? It's been a good kind of dilemma for Breslow, who has a 2.82 ERA in 402 career innings and has settled in with the Red Sox, his sixth major league organization.
Breslow's interest in science stems in part from his sister, who is a 20-year pediatric cancer survivor. Her illness drove him to start the Strike 3 Foundation in 2008, and it inspired Breslow's first contribution to 3-D printing — the process of making a solid object of virtually any shape from a digital pattern. With the help of General Electric (where Breslow's wife and father-in-law have worked), "Strike 3" pendants manufactured with 3-D printing starting Tuesday. The future is here! And Breslow took a few moments to discuss it (and other stuff) in the most scientific Answer Man session yet.
David Brown: Why are you so excited about 3-D printing?
Craig Breslow: I'm kind of enamored by the technology. We live in a pretty interesting time in that, as they become available to more people, it's pretty fascinating to think about the limitless bounds that 3-D printing can take us to. Day to day, you look at the production of small and common household goods and you wonder if, someday, anyone could design, create and manufacture them yourself. As someone who has a science background, it's a pretty exciting event for me.
DB: When you first heard that this was real, did "Star Trek" replicators cross your mind?
Craig: I actually thought more of the "Jetsons," where the robot maid (Rosie) would just push buttons on what looked like a vending machine and an entire meal would pop out. The other thing I thought was whether 3-D printers can print 3-D printers.
DB: Whoa. That's like the picture of infinite TV cameras.
Craig: Inside of the looking glass!
DB: How has your charity gotten involved with this? What are you making?
Craig: It's been called a pendant. It embodies a few aspects of the Strike 3 Foundation. The public could tweet about any 3-D creation they like best. It takes just a few seconds to make. The designer was Juan Pablo Cilia. We've got this flaming baseball pendant that was inspired by our logo.
DB: Do you think 3-D printers could make a human organ someday?
Read More »from Answer Man: Craig Breslow talks 3-D printing, valuable facial hair, Red Sox brains and his pediatric cancer foundation