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England's Silicon Fen

Ever since the 17th century, Cambridge University has reckoned itself the world's great center of science. It was here that Sir Isaac Newton established the principles of physics. Other Cambridge scientists have spilt the atom, discovered vitamins, developed biochemistry, deciphered DNA and built the world's first digital computer.

Cambridge also has been one of the few universities in Britain to market its research by setting up science parks to help entrepreneurs. The 1,200 tech-centered companies within a 30-mile radius of the city, an area known as Silicon Fen, employ 40,000 people and generate $6 billion per year.

Three years ago, Adam Twiss, 22, set up his own company, Zeus, to produce Internet software. Revenues now are "in six figures," he said, and he aims to double them every quarter.

"The main reason we are here is the other companies here. We can talk to, work with them," Twiss said.

Microsoft is getting in on the action. It announced last June it would invest $80 million in a research institute at Cambridge, said James Gray, head of the East of England Investment Agency.

Microsoft knows the high caliber of software developers here, and, Gray said as he glanced out at the honey-colored stone of Magdalene College, "It is also a pretty place to live."

More Destinations on Digital Planet
Silicon Valley, Calif.Seattle, Washington
Boston, MassachusettsAustin, Texas
New York, New YorkDublin, Ireland
Cambridge, EnglandSophia Antipolis, France
Oulu Technopolis, FinlandHaifa, Israel
Bangalore, IndiaZhongguancun, China
Kyushu Island, JapanTaipei, Taiwan
SingaporeKuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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Written By Robert Seely, The Associated Press

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