Everywhere I’ve been this summer, it seems I’ve met someone who was pulled to Boston by the life sciences industry. The Frenchman with whom I shared a lunch table at a conference, who moved here to work at Genzyme’s Kendall Square office in Cambridge. The businessman next to me on a red-eye flight home from San Diego, who worked for a California company that had just been bought by Thermo Fisher Scientific, a maker of laboratory equipment in Waltham. The entrepreneur from Silicon Valley who sold his company to PerkinElmer, another lab equipment giant in Waltham. The researcher from Glasgow here for a yearlong fellowship in the hospital hive at Longwood.
From the 1960s through the 1990s, Massachusetts was a magnet for tech talent of all kinds: software whizzes, chip designers, and the architects of mainframes and minicomputers. Even into the dot-com era, local companies like Monster.com, Lycos, and CMGI were drawing Web-savvy workers to the state.