On May 4, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) inducted fifteen of America’s greatest innovators into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). Held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., CBS News correspondent and television personality Mo Rocca moderated the event, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee gave remarks, and Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld presented induction medals. Seven living inventors were inducted, and another eight were named posthumously.
In her opening remarks, Director Lee lauded the new inductees, stating, “Among them all, tonight's Inductees, collectively, hold almost 550 patents. In and of itself that’s an impressive number. But more impressive are the innovations behind those patents. They have transformed how we communicate; how we manufacture; how we remember; and even how we explore the vast reaches of space.”
The fifteen inductees for 2017 are:
- Iver Anderson, Lead-Free Solder
- Don Arney, Bambi Bucket® for Aerial Firefighting
- Carolyn Bertozzi, Bioorthogonal Chemistry
- Earle Dickson, BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages
- Harold Froehlich, Alvin Deep-Sea Submersible
- Allene Jeanes, Dextran Production; Xanthan Gum
- Marshall Jones, Industrial Lasers
- Frances Ligler, Portable Optical Biosensors
The USPTO has partnered with NIHF since 1973. In addition to honoring extraordinary inventors and running the museum, NIHF also educates more than 100,000 grade-school and middle-school students every year through interactive programs such as Camp Invention. To be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, one must hold a U.S. patent, as well as contribute significantly to the nation's welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts.
The induction ceremony on May 4 was part of a series of events to honor both the new and previous inductees, which kicked off with an illumination ceremony on May 3 at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia. The museum is free, open to the public, and features interactive exhibits about the inductees and the process of invention.