Group includes inventors of the first statin, holography, carbon dioxide laser, and laser printer
Press Release

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- Dedicated to honoring the individuals who conceived, patented, and advanced the great technological achievements that have changed the world, the National Inventors Hall of Fame is honoring its 2012 Inductees at a formal Induction ceremony taking place in Washington, D.C. The inventors honored this year created remarkable innovations that include the now ubiquitous laser printer commonly found in the workplace, the thin film head technology that has contributed to the success of the disk drive industry, and the carbon dioxide laser now in widespread use in industrial, medical, and military applications.

The Induction ceremony, sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, takes place at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, the site of the historic Patent Office Building. Seven living inventors will be recognized and three more will be recognized posthumously. Among those being honored posthumously are Mária Telkes, a solar energy pioneer, and Steve Jobs, the well-known Apple Computer co-founder.

"As we celebrate the 40th annual Induction Ceremony of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, we are struck by the impact that these new Inductees have had throughout our lives," said Edward Gray, Chairman of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Board of Directors. "Through their dedication and persistence, these inventors have helped shape not just today but also the future, and their Induction brings appropriate recognition to outstanding examples of innovation."

"The USPTO is honored to join in recognizing these ingenious individuals. They have transformed the way we interact with the world," said David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. "Their patented inventions have built businesses, created jobs, and will inspire technological advances for generations to come." Read Kappos' full induction ceremony remarks here.

This year, the inventors being honored include:

Akira Endo
Endo discovered mevastatin, the first statin, pioneering research into a new class of molecules that are now a hugely successful class of drugs targeting the lowering of cholesterol. He began his research after learning about the connection between high cholesterol and coronary heart disease, causing him to hypothesize that inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, a key enzyme in the process of synthesizing cholesterol in the liver, could decrease cholesterol levels. Endo is currently Director of Biopharm Research Laboratories and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.

Dennis Gabor (1900-1979)
Gabor is best known for his research in electron optics which led to the invention of holography. Holography became commercially viable after the development of the laser which provided the intense, coherent light necessary for successful holography. Today, because of Gabor's discovery and also the efforts of a number of researchers after him, holography has seen numerous modern day applications in fields as varied as engineering, medicine, manufacturing, and art.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
Steve Jobs was just 21 in 1976 when he co-founded Apple Computer with his friend, National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee Steve Wozniak. During his lifetime, he was a major influence on a number of industries, including personal computing, animated movies, music, smart phones, tablet computing, retailing, and digital publishing.

Barbara Liskov
MIT Institute Professor Liskov is considered an innovator in the design of computer programming languages, largely for helping to make computer programs more reliable, secure, and easy to use. Liskov in known for designing CLU, an object-oriented programming language, and Argus, a distributed programming language. CLU and Argus would contribute to languages like Ada, Java, C++, and C#, which are in turn widely used to write software applications for personal computers, the Internet, and a wide range of financial, medical, consumer, and business applications.

C. Kumar N. Patel
Patel invented the carbon dioxide laser at Bell Labs; since then, the carbon dioxide laser has become common and versatile with uses in the medical, industrial, and military arenas. Although many types of lasers exist, carbon dioxide lasers are highly efficient and have a reasonable cost, and they ushered in the era of high power laser applications. After 32 years at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Patel became Vice Chancellor for Research at UCLA. In 2000, he started his own company, Pranalytica, to manufacture mid-infrared quantum cascade laser systems and gas sensing instruments.

Lubomyr Romankiw and David Thompson
IBM researchers Romankiw and Thompson invented the first practical magnetic thin film storage heads, creating new designs for both read and write heads along with a new fabrication process. Thin film technology increased the density of data that could be stored on magnetic disks, even while the disk size was being substantially reduced, dramatically reducing the cost of data storage. Romankiw works at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, and Thompson is retired from IBM's Almaden Research Center.

Gary Starkweather
Starkweather's laser printer, invented at the Xerox PARC facility, was the first to print any images that could be created on a computer. A laser beam carried digital information, and a copier then developed the imaged digital information to make a print. In 1977, Xerox launched the 9700 laser printer which would become one of Xerox's best-selling products. Starkweather worked at Xerox for over 20 years, then went on to spend 10 years at Apple Computer and eight years at Microsoft before retiring in 2005.

Mária Telkes (1900-1995)
Telkes was a highly respected innovator in solar energy. Throughout her career, she published widely on the topics of solar heating, thermoelectric generators and distillers, and electrical conductivity of solid electrolytes. At MIT, she worked on the Dover Sun House, which employed a method using sodium sulphates to store energy from the sun. During World War II, she developed a solar distillation device that was included in the military's emergency medical kits. At the University of Delaware, she would contribute to Solar One, an experimental solar house utilizing a variety of solar systems.

Alejandro Zaffaroni
Biotechnology innovator Zaffaroni conducted early work in controlled drug delivery methods, particularly early concepts for transdermal patches, which led to the growth of research in innovative drug delivery systems. He has founded numerous biotech companies throughout his career.

The work of these Inductees show how vision, hard work, and creative drive can lead to powerful new tools that shape the future, change society, and improve the way we live. "It is an honor to be recognized for the invention of the laser printer," said Inductee Gary Starkweather. "I've always had an innate curiosity about why things work the way they do, and I think that curiosity has helped me take a few chances and given me a wonderful career along the way."

The National Inventors Hall of Fame annually accepts nominations for men and women whose work has changed society and improved the quality of life. The candidate's invention must be covered by a United States patent, and the work must have had a major impact on society, the public welfare, and the progress of science and the useful arts.

About the Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier non-profit organization in America dedicated to honoring legendary inventors whose innovations and entrepreneurial endeavors have changed the world. Founded in 1973 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall of Fame has 470 Inductees with its 2012 Induction.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the Madison Building on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA. Hall of Fame hours are Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from Noon to 5 PM (closed Sundays and federal holidays). Admission is free. For more information on the National Inventors Hall of Fame, including Inductee nomination forms and a full listing of Inductees, please visit

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