Inventors Hall of Fame Inducts Class of 2012
On May 2, the National Inventors Hall of Fame inducted its 2012 class of inventors during a ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This year's event marked the 40th anniversary of the Hall of Fame's inductions. Some of the most renowned innovators in the world were honored for their inventions that have fundamentally changed the way we interact and communicate with the world.
Akira Endo discovered mevastatin and pioneered research into a new class of molecules that work in drugs to lower cholesterol.
Barbara Liskov is an MIT professor who contributed significantly to the design of computer languages, including some of the most commonly used in today's programming.
C. Kumar N. Patel worked for Bell Labs and invented the carbon dioxide laser. After working for Bell Labs for most of his career, Patel went on to independently found his own company, Pranalytica, which manufactures mid-infrared quantum cascade laser systems and gas sensing instruments.
Lubomyr Romankiw and David A. Thompson invented the first practical magnetic thin film storage heads, which became vital components in data storage technology.
Gary K. Starkweather is the inventor of the now-ubiquitous laser printer while working for Xerox Corp.
Alejandro Zaffaroni is a biotech entrepreneur who pioneered early methods of drug delivery systems using transdermal patches.
In addition to the seven living inventors, the Hall of Fame posthumously honored three individuals whose impact on the modern world has been immeasurable.
Dennis Gabor (1900-1979) was a pioneer of electron optics and the inventor of holography.
Mária Telkes (1900-1995) was a pioneer of solar energy and inventor of the first thermoelectric generator.
Steve Jobs (1955-2011) was the co-founder of Apple Computers and one of the most important figures in the design of computer hardware and software.
"At the end of the day, [your] efforts don't just boast scientific or historic achievement," Kappos said to the inductees. "They fundamentally retool the way we interact with the world around us."
Of Jobs, Director Kappos said, "While he recognized the criticality of patents and trademarks in unleashing innovation-Steve Jobs also embodied a fundamental truth about invention-that design is not just what a product looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
As we honor this year's inductees, we are reminded that the future is ours to invent. Independent inventors and entrepreneurs form a cornerstone of America, a nation that is itself a grand collection of the best ideas and innovations the world has ever known.
To find out more about the Inductees and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, visit www.invent.org