This is, after all, the cutting edge of research and development. Never mind that it's creeping skyward in a nondescript office suite in Des Plaines, of all places. These are the hundreds and hundreds of entries for the 1992 R&D 100 Award Competition, the annual weeding out of the year's 100 most significant technical products and processes punched out of the world's laboratories.
"This is their moment in the sun," says Tim Studt, senior editor of the magazine and the man charged with sloshing through the techno-babble, farming the entries out to 34 outside judges and then slugging through the final cuts with a panel of six in-house editorial jurists who whittle the list to 100.
"We don't have Oscars, we don't have a whole night on TV, hearing corny jokes, talking about scientists," says Kevin M. Myles, director of the electrochemical technology program at Argonne National Laboratory, a six-time award winner but not an entrant this year. "This is our Emmy, if you will. It's not a Nobel Prize, but it's a far cry from a sharp stick in the eye."