Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Lim, as a part of his undergrad program at UCSD and during the height of Napster, was interested in making a brain interface device that could track and determine preferences for music. Although Netflix, Spotify, and others eventually solved this problem (sans BCI), Lim has made his mark in other ways. He ended up at Michigan with a cadre of other big names in the field, where he earned two masters degrees (biomedical engineering and electrical engineering & computer science) and his Ph.D.
His official CV placed him all over the world - from Hanover to Dublin to Minneapolis - and I'm quite certain that there are countless stories (some suitable for sharing, others are better left in the vault) left in his wake. After a detour with the Hugh Helmet, his career has enjoyed significant support and encouragement - a gift he passes along to his own students. "How can we push your idea along?" is a common mantra. He confesses that his is not the wealthiest lab in the world but commits to raising and spending his funding to support promising ideas. "We've got money now, I'll spend it. If we go broke, we'll go broke together. There's no point in hoarding the money; let's go after these great ideas."
Lim walks us through his philosophy of science over the past twenty years from hypothesis-driven research for invasive work, but to use a trial and error methodology for non-invasive research in order to accelerate learning and advancements. He calls his success 'lucky' - we call it the result of hard work and preparation.
Gratitude, humility, and fun are a huge part of who Lim is. It's impossible to have a conversation with him that does not promote at least some laughter, to hear him offer gratitude to another, and to feel his penchant for fun as demonstrated in his Jabbawockeez adaptation that he and his team created as an homage to Doug Weber.
Professor Lim's humor and affability are infectious. In a world that has shunned infections, Hubert Lim should restore your faith in science (and going viral.)