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“A little green box called “The Bird” became familiar to hospital patients throughout the world after it was introduced in 1958. It was the first highly reliable, low-cost, mass-produced medical respirator in the world, invented by Forrest Bird.
The “Babybird” respirator, introduced in 1970, reduced infant mortality due to respirator problems from 70 percent to less than ten percent.
His daddy taught him how to fly a plane as a young boy and he flew solo by the age of 14. By the age of 16 he was working toward several high level pilot certifications.
- During World War II Bird was a pilot and officer with the Army Air Corps.
- He has piloted almost every type of airplane there is.
- He founded the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center located near Sandpoint,Idaho
- Forrest Bird was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2008.
- He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1995.
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Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, Burbank was brought up on a farm and attended Lancaster Academy for high school. At age 22, he purchased a 17-acre tract near Lunenburg where he began a 55-year plant breeding career.
In 1871 he developed the Burbank potato. He sold the rights for the potato for $150, which he used to travel to Santo Rosa, California. In Santa Rosa, he established a nursery garden, greenhouse, and experimental farms that have become famous throughout the world.
He worked by effecting multiple crosses of foreign and native strains to obtain seedlings, which he grafted onto fully developed plants for rapid assessment of hybrid characteristics.
Burbank carried on his plant hybridization and selection on a huge scale. At any one time he maintained as many as 3,000 experiments involving millions of plants. In his work on plums, he tested about 30,000 new varieties. The Plant Patent Act of 1930 amended U.S. patent law to permit protection of new and distinct varieties of asexually reproduced plants, other than tuber-propagated plants. This legislation resulted from the growing awareness that plant breeders had no financial incentive to enter plant breeding because they could not exercise control over their discoveries. In supporting this legislation, Thomas A. Edison testified: ' This (bill) will, I feel sure, give us many Burbanks.' Plant Patent Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 41, 65, 66, 235, 266, 267, 269, 290, 291, and 1041 were issued to Burbank posthumously.
George Washington Carver
Carver developed his crop rotation method which alternated nitrate producing legumes-such as peanuts and peas-with cotton, which depletes soil of its nutrients. Following Carver's lead, southern farmers soon began planting peanuts one year and cotton the next. While many of the peanuts were used to feed livestock, large surpluses quickly developed. Carver then developed 325 different uses for the extra peanuts-from cooking oil to printer’s ink. When he discovered that the sweet potato and the pecan also enriched depleted soils, Carver found almost 20 uses for these crops, including synthetic rubber and material for paving highways.
George Washington Carver was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990.
Thomas Edison holds over one thousand patents having invented things such as a voting machine (Patent #0,090,646) which was the invention he received his first patent on to the phonograph that recorded and played back sounds. The invention of the phonograph (0,200,521) helped dubbed Edison’s nickname, the “Wizard of Menlo Park”. Edison’s best known for his epic invention which was an improved electric filament light bulb (0,223,898) that provided a practical electric incandescent light bulb that was convenient and reproducible for use in homes throughout America.
Alec Jeffreys invented genetic fingerprinting, a powerful technology that provided new insights for genetic researchers, and resolved life-or-death questions for law enforcement. It also provided a simple way to establish family relationships in paternity and immigration disputes, screen for mutations, identify human remains, and improve animal breeding.
Jeffreys conducts his research at the University of Leicester, where he made his well-known discovery. His work has earned him numerous honors, including knighthood in 1994.
Abraham Lincoln’s invention consisted of a set of bellows attached to the hull of a ship just below the water line. On reaching a shallow place, the bellows are filled with air and the vessel, thus buoyed, was expected to float clear of the sand bar. Lincoln’s invention was never marketed, probably because the extra weight of the device would have increased the probability of the ship running onto sandbars more frequently. Lincoln whittled the model for his patent application with his own hands. The Lincoln Patent model is on display at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.
In 1858, Lincoln called the introduction of patent laws one of the three most important developments "in the world's history," along with the discovery of America and the perfection of printing. During the Civil War, he took a personal interest in new weapons, advocating the adoption of ironclad ships, the observation balloon, the breech-loading rifle, and the machine gun. Lincoln declared that "The patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius."
In addition to being an inventor, Dr. Ellen Ochoa is also a research scientist and former astronaut for NASA. Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Ellen Ochoa is a veteran of three space flights. She has logged over 719 hours in space, her most recent mission was a 10 day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in May of 1999.
Space Flight Experience:
Dr. Ochoa was the Payload Commander on the STS-66 Atlantis Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 mission (November 3-14, 1994). ATLAS-3 continued the series of Spacelab flights to study the energy of the sun during an 11-year solar cycle and to learn how changes in the sun’s irradiance affect the earth’s climate and environment. Dr. Ochoa used the RMS to retrieve the CRISTA-SPAS atmospheric research satellite at the end of its 8-day free flight.
STS-96 Discovery (May 27 to June 6, 1999) was a 10-day mission during which the crew performed the first docking to the International Space Station, and delivered 4 tons of logistics and supplies in preparation for the arrival of the first crew to live on the station. Dr. Ochoa coordinated the transfer of supplies and also operated the RMS during the 8-hour space walk.
STS-110 Atlantis (April 8-19, 2002) was the 13th Space Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Mission milestones during the 11-day mission included: the delivery and installation of the SO (S-Zero) Truss; the first time the Station’s robotic arm was used to maneuver spacewalkers around the Station; and the first time that all of a Space Shuttle crew’s spacewalks were based from the Station’s Quest Airlock. Dr. Ochoa, along with Expedition-4 crew members Dan Bursch and Carl Walz, operated the Station’s robotic arm to install SO, and to move crew members during three of the four spacewalks.
- Graduated from Grossmont High School, La Mesa, California
- She received her bachelor of science degree in physics from San Diego State University
- She received her master of science degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University
Tesla attended Joanneum, a polytechnic school in Graz and the University of Prague for two years. He started work in the engineering department of the Austrian telegraph system then became an electrical engineer at an electric power company in Budapest and later at another in Strasbourg. While in technical school, Tesla became convinced that commutators were unnecessary on motors; and while with the power company he built a crude motor which demonstrated the truth of his theory. In 1884, Tesla came to the United States and joined the Edison Machine Works as a dynamo designer.
Telsa obtained more than 100 patents in his lifetime. Despite his 700 inventions Tesla was not wealthy. For many years he worked in his room at the Hotel New Yorker.
James E. West
The Electret Foil microphone and the work of Jim West revolutionized the telephone and recording industry. James West holds 47 U.S. and more than 200 foreign patents on microphones and techniques for making polymer foil-electrets. He has authored more than 100 papers and contributed to books on acoustics, solid state physics, and materials science.
- West is a research professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD
- He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1999
- He was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2006.
- He is a Fellow of IEEE and a recipient of the George R. Stibitz Trophy
- He is a 2010 Franklin Institute Award recipient