Mark Twain once said that “an inventor is a poet–a true poet–and nothing in any degree less than a high order of poet.”

Michele Alperin, writing in the business newspaper US 1, gives us a glimpse into the poetic mind of the inventor with her profile of Michael Hecht in the current issue.

Hecht, a professor of chemistry at Princeton who has developed a novel way to screen for potential Alzheimer’s drugs, will join other innovators Tuesday, Feb. 27, at an innovation forum that is sponsored by Princeton’s Center for Innovation in Engineering Education.

What kind of mindset best suits an innovator? “You have to be prepared to see the unexpected,” Hecht told Alperin. “You have to have an educated and trained mind, but have to be open-minded enough that when something bizarre comes up, you can see it.”

In addition to explaining Hecht’s research in protein design, the US 1 profile offers some interesting biographical background. Before going to MIT for graduate school, for example, Hecht drove a taxi around New York City for several months. Who knew?

The public is invited to the Tuesday event, which will feature about a dozen emerging technologies from the laboratories of Princeton, including CoBlitz, which promises to revolutionize the distribution of rich media (videos, sofware, etc.) on the web.

You can read the entire Hecht profile here.