Four American Inventors to Be Honored for Revolutionary Innovation

Press Release

Brigid Quinn
Kim Byars

Robert Mallett, deputy secretary of commerce, will present the department's Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Award to four outstanding American inventors whose creative genius revolutionized life in the 20th century. Q, Todd Dickinson, acting assistant secretary of commerce and acting commissioner of patents and trademarks, and Alma Brown, widow of the former secretary of commerce for whom the award is named, will join the deputy secretary in presenting the prestigious award to Donald L. Campbell, James Edward West, Bryan B. Molloy and Klaus K. Schmiegel.

Donald L. Campbell is known for the process still used today to produce over half of the world's gasoline. Campbell is the only surviving member of the "four horsemen," the Exxon research team that developed the fluidized bed catalytic cracking process. Fluidized bed catalytic cracking revolutionized the petroleum industry by greatly increasing the yield of high-octane gasoline from crude oil. James Edward West invented the foil electret microphone while working at Bell Laboratories. Nearly 90 percent of today's microphones use West's technology in everyday items such as telephones, camcorders, and tape recorders. Bryan B. Molloy and Klaus K. Schmiegel discovered the active ingredients used in Eli Lilly's Prozac. Prozac is the world's most widely used antidepressant, and has been prescribed for over 35 million people.

What: Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Awards

When: Thursday, October 14, 1999 at 1 p.m.

Where : Crystal Forum

1999 Jefferson Davis Highway

Arlington, VA 22202