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National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees


Forrest M. Bird
Born Jun 9 1921
"Painting by Tom Sellers"



Fluid Control Device; Respirator; Pediatric Ventilator
Respirator / Ventilator
Patent Number(s) 3,068,856; 3,191,596; 3,842,828

Inducted 1995

On television every week in the 1960s, Dr. Kildare committed himself to making his patients better. But try as he might, some would still not respond to his treatment. At those times his hospital's slogan was, when all else fails, 'get the Bird.' 'The Bird' was a little green box which became familiar to hospital patients throughout the world after it was introduced in 1958.

Invention Impact

It was the first highly reliable, low-cost, mass-produced medical respirator in the world, and it was invented by Forrest Bird. The 'Babybird' respirator, introduced in 1970, quickly reduced infant mortality for those with respiratory problems from 70 percent to less than 10 percent worldwide.

Inventor Bio

Bird was born in Stoughton , Massachusetts . His father, a World War I pilot, encouraged him to solo in an airplane by age 14, and by 16 Forrest had been tutored toward earning major flight authorizations.

During World War II, as an officer with the Army Air Corps, Bird became a technical air training officer, which allowed him to learn to fly almost every airplane then available. At that time supercharged airplanes were beginning to exceed the altitudes at which pilots could breath unaided. This provided Bird his first chance at developing technology for aiding breathing. After an Air Corps physician presented him textbooks on mammalian pathophysiology he became a lifelong student of the subject. By 1955, after having attended numerous medical schools and completed diverse residencies, Bird developed the prototype Bird Universal Medical Respirator for acute or chronic cardiopulmonary care. He tested the device by traveling in his own airplanes to medical schools and asking doctors for their most ill patients. In each case, known therapies had failed and the patient was expected to die of cardiopulmonary failure. Although many times the Bird succeeded, some patients died. These cases only pointed the way for further improvements in the device.

Vinton Gray Cerf Born June 23, 1943 System for Distributed Task Execution Patent Number 6,574,628 Inducted 2006

Vinton Gray Cerf
Born June 23, 1943

System for Distributed Task Execution
Patent Number 6,574,628

Inducted 2006

Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn designed the architecture of the Internet and the procedures known as the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP that allow supercomputers and desktop PCs to share the Internet.

Invention Impact

The charge-coupled device stores information in discrete packets of electric charge in columns of closely spaced semiconductor capacitors. Stored information is read by shifting stored charges down the columns, one position at a time. The CCDs' ultra-sensitivity to light makes it an important tool for scientists. Most telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, rely on CCDs for electronic imaging.

In 1968, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency sponsored the ARPANET project to link computers for resource sharing

Robert Kahn envisioned the Internet as an open, accessible collection of networks operated cooperatively. Based on Kahn's Open Architecture concepts, Cerf and Kahn invented their first design they called TCP in 1974. The design allowedARPA's Packet Radio, Packet Satellite and ARPANET networks to interconnect and interwork seamlessly. TCP/IP became the required way to use the ARPA-sponsored packet networks beginning in 1983. It allowed arbitrary collections of packet networks to evolve into the Internet, enabling applications ranging from e-mail, streaming audio and video to the World Wide Web.

Inventor Bio

Cerf was born in New Haven , Connecticut . He pursued his B.S. at Stanford University before earning his M.S. and Ph.D. at UCLA. National Medal of Technology recipients in 1997, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients in 2005, Cerf and Kahn are often referred to as the "fathers of the Internet."

Robert Elliot Kahn Born December 23, 1938 System for Distributed Task Execution Patent Number 6,574,628 Inducted 2006 Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP

Robert Elliot Kahn
Born December 23, 1938

System for Distributed Task Execution
Patent Number 6,574,628

Inducted 2006

Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf created the architecture for the Internet and collaborated on the design of software - known as the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP - that implements the architecture.

Invention Impact

In collaboration with Vinton Cerf, a computer scientist, he created the Internet architecture, which allows multiple heterogeneous networks (and their computers) to communicate with each other.Their work resulted in a protocol, now known as TCP/IP, that implemented key elements of the architecture. Beginning in 1983, TCP/IP became the standard host protocol on the Arpanet; it was one of the first three networks to be connected in the Internet , thus enabling applications ranging from e-mail and instant messaging to the World Wide Web.

Robert Kahn envisioned the Internet as an open, accessible collection of networks operated cooperatively. Based on Kahn's Open Architecture concepts, Cerf and Kahn invented their first design they called TCP in 1974. The design allowedARPA's Packet Radio, Packet Satellite and ARPANET networks to interconnect and interwork seamlessly. TCP/IP became the required way to use the ARPA-sponsored packet networks beginning in 1983. It allowed arbitrary collections of packet networks to evolve into the Internet, enabling applications ranging from e-mail, streaming audio and video to the World Wide Web.

Inventor Bio

Born in Brooklyn , New York , Kahn earned his B.E.E. degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York before gaining his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Princeton University . Prior to joining the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, Kahn designed the first communication network, known as ARPANET, which was based on a new technique called "packet switching" that enabled heterogeneous distributed computers to exchange packets of data.

In 2004, Kahn received the Turing Award with Cerf for their pioneering work on the Internet.

Alfred Free
Born Apr 11 1913 - Died May 15 2000

Composition of Matter
Glucose Detection for Diabetes
Patent Number(s) 2,848,308

Inducted 2000


In the mid-1940s, Alfred Free and Helen Murray were both chemists working together in the biochemistry research group at Miles Laboratories, Inc., in Elkhart, Indiana. Married in 1947, they continued their collaboration, becoming two of the world's leading experts on urinalysis.The Frees co-authored two books: Urodynamics and Urinalysis in Laboratory Practice , both considered notable works in the field.

Invention Impact

Their contributions include the development of dry reagents that have become the standard in laboratory urinalysis and the more consumer-oriented "dip-and-read" tests that first enabled diabetics to easily and accurately monitor their blood glucose levels on their own.

Inventor Bio

The Frees each had a career spanning more than 30 years at Miles Labs, now Bayer AG. Alfred Free earned his undergraduate degree at Miami University ( Ohio ) and his master's and doctoral degrees at Western Reserve University ( Ohio ). Helen Free earned her undergraduate degree at the College of Wooster ( Ohio ) in 1944 and a master's degree in management/health care administration from Central Michigan University in 1978.

For their outstanding collaborative efforts, the Frees were awarded the Laboratory Public Service National Leadership Award in 1995. Although Alfred Free has passed away, his spirit of invention lives on. Helen Free continues to promote science education through programs around the world.

Helen Free Born Feb 20 1923 Composition of Matter Glucose Detection for Diabetes Patent Number(s) 2,848,308 Inducted 2000

Helen Free
Born Feb 20 1923

Composition of Matter
Glucose Detection for Diabetes
Patent Number(s) 2,848,308

Inducted 2000

In the mid-1940s, Alfred Free and Helen Murray were both chemists working together in the biochemistry research group at Miles Laboratories, Inc., in Elkhart, Indiana. Married in 1947, they continued their collaboration, becoming two of the world's leading experts on urinalysis.

Their contributions include the development of dry reagents that have become the standard in laboratory urinalysis and the more consumer-oriented "dip-and-read" tests that first enabled diabetics to easily and accurately monitor their blood glucose levels on their own. The Frees co-authored two books: Urodynamics and Urinalysis in Laboratory Practice , both considered notable works in the field.

Invention Impact

Their contributions include the development of dry reagents that have become the standard in laboratory urinalysis and the more consumer-oriented "dip-and-read" tests that first enabled diabetics to easily and accurately monitor their blood glucose levels on their own.

Inventor Bio

The Frees each had a career spanning more than 30 years at Miles Labs, now Bayer AG. Alfred Free earned his undergraduate degree at Miami University ( Ohio ) and his master's and doctoral degrees at Western Reserve University ( Ohio ). Helen Free earned her undergraduate degree at the College of Wooster ( Ohio ) in 1944 and a master's degree in management/health care administration from Central Michigan University in 1978.

For their outstanding collaborative efforts, the Frees were awarded the Laboratory Public Service National Leadership Award in 1995. Although Alfred Free has passed away, his spirit of invention lives on. Helen Free continues to promote science education through programs around the world.

Patsy Sherman Patsy Sherman Born Sep 15 1930 Block and Graft Copolymers Containing Water Solvatable Polar Groups and Fluoroaliphatic Groups Scotchgard (TM) Textile Proctector Patent Number(s) 3,574,791 Inducted 2001 Samuel Smith Born Sep 13 1927 - Died Jan 6 2005 Block and Graft Copolymers Containing Water Solvatable Polar Groups and Fluoroaliphatic Groups Scotchgard (TM) Textile Proctector Patent No. 3,574,791 Inducted 2001
Born Sep 15 1930

Block and Graft Copolymers Containing Water Solvatable Polar Groups and Fluoroaliphatic Groups
Scotchgard (TM) Textile Proctector
Patent Number(s) 3,574,791

Inducted 2001


Chemist Patsy Sherman and colleague Sam Smith were working at 3M Company when they created ScotchgardT. Scotchgard went on to become one of the most widely used and valuable products in stain repellency and soil removal, eventually bringing in over $300 million annually for 3M.

Sherman and Smith teamed up to develop the line of Scotchgard products after an accidental spill of a fluorochemical rubber intended for jet fuel hoses showed resistance to water and oily liquids. After the introduction in 1956 of a stain repellent treatment for wool, they later developed products designed for clothing, household linens, upholstery, and carpeting. Their research culminated in the late 1960s when they developed a product that both repelled stains and also permitted the removal of oily soils from synthetic fabrics, including the newly popular permanent press fabrics. Sherman and Smith jointly hold 13 patents in fluorochemical polymers and polymerization processes.

Invention Impact


Inventor Bio

Born in Minneapolis , Sherman attended Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota . Upon graduating in 1952 with degrees in chemistry and mathematics, she joined 3M and remained there until her retirement in 1992. She has previously been inducted into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame and is a Distinguished Alumna of her college.

Samuel Smith
Born Sep 13 1927 - Died Jan 6 2005

Block and Graft Copolymers Containing Water Solvatable Polar Groups and Fluoroaliphatic Groups Scotchgard (TM) Textile Proctector
Patent No. 3,574,791

Inducted 2001

Chemist Patsy Sherman and colleague Sam Smith were working at 3M Company when they created ScotchgardT. Scotchgard went on to become one of the most widely used and valuable products in stain repellency and soil removal, eventually bringing in over $300 million annually for 3M.

Sherman and Smith teamed up to develop the line of Scotchgard products after an accidental spill of a fluorochemical rubber intended for jet fuel hoses showed resistance to water and oily liquids. After the introduction in 1956 of a stain repellent treatment for wool, they later developed products designed for clothing, household linens, upholstery, and carpeting. Their research culminated in the late 1960s when they developed a product that both repelled stains and also permitted the removal of oily soils from synthetic fabrics, including the newly popular permanent press fabrics. Sherman and Smith jointly hold 13 patents in fluorochemical polymers and polymerization processes.

Invention Impact


Inventor Bio

Born in New York City , Smith received a B.S. from City College of New York in 1948 and an M.S. from the University of Michigan in 1949. He joined 3M in 1951 and retired as a Corporate Scientist in 1992. He holds 30 U.S. patents and in 1988 won the American Chemical Society's Award for Creative Invention.

Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff Born Oct 28 1937 Memory System for a Multi-Chip Digital Computer CPU Patent Number(s) 3,821,715 Inducted 1996

Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff
Born Oct 28 1937

Memory System for a Multi-Chip Digital Computer
CPU
Patent Number(s) 3,821,715

Inducted 1996


In the late 1960s, many articles had discussed the possibility of a computer on a chip. However, all concluded that the integrated circuit technology was not yet ready. Ted Hoff was the first to recognize that Intel's new silicon-gated MOS technology might make a single-chip CPU possible if a sufficiently simple architecture could be developed. Hoff developed such an architecture with just over 2000 transistors.

In 1969, the Japanese calculator manufacturer Busicom asked Intel to complete the design and manufacture of a new set of chips. Ted Hoff was assigned to work with Busicom's engineers. Hoff realized that the Busicom's 12-chip design -- separate chips for keyboard scanning, display control, printer control, and other functions -- could not meet the cost objectives for the project. He proposed an alternate architecture in which a single-chip general-purpose computer central processor (CPU) would be programmed to perform most of the calculator functions. Busicom accepted the Intel proposal.

Further refinements in architecture and logic design were made by Stanley Mazor and Federico Faggin and the chip was brought to silicon reality by Faggin. The first working CPU was delivered to Busicom in February, 1971. This single chip had as much computing power as the first electronic computer, ENIAC (1946), which filled a room.

Although there was an initial reluctance on the part of Intel marketing to undertake the support and sale of these products to general customers, Hoff, Mazor, and Faggin actively campaigned for their announcement to the industry and helped define a support strategy that the company could accept. Intel formally announced the "4004" CPU in November, 1971.

The 4004 was designed and built under contract for Busicom -- they owned the rights to it. Intel acquired the rights by offering to return the $60,000 development cost and to produce the chip at a lower cost. As the basis for the modern computer revolution, maintaining rights on the 4004 technology appears to have been a good investment.

Hoff, Mazor, and Faggin were involved in Intel's second and third generation CPUs, the 8008 and 8080.

Invention Impact

One of the most important developments of the last half of the 20th century has been the microprocessor. It is found in virtually every automobile, medical device, and computer in the modern world. From its inception in 1969, the microprocessor industry has grown to hundreds of millions of units per year.

Inventor Bio

Dr. Marcian Edward "Ted" Hoff, Jr. was born October 28, 1937 in Rochester , New York . He received a BEE (1958) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy , NY . During the summers away from college he worked for General Railway Signal Company in Rochester where he made developments that produced his first two patents. He attended Stanford as a National Science Foundation Fellow and received a MS (1959) and Ph.D. (1962) in electrical engineering. He joined Intel in 1962. In 1980, he was named the first Intel Fellow, the highest technical position in the company. He spent a brief time as VP for Technology with Atari in the early 1980s and is currently VP and Chief Technical Officer with Teklicon, Inc. Other honors include the Stuart Ballantine Medal from the Franklin Institute.

Dean Kamen's first major innovation was the AutoSyringe®, a class of automatic, self contained, ambulatory infusion pumps designed to free patients from round-the-clock injections and, in some cases, from their hospital beds.

Dean Kamen
Born Apr 5 1951

Ambulatory Infusion Pump
Patent Number(s) 3,858,581

Discovery New Invention Show with Dean Kamen

Inducted 2005

Dean Kamen's first major innovation was the AutoSyringe®, a class of automatic, self contained, ambulatory infusion pumps designed to free patients from round-the-clock injections and, in some cases, from their hospital beds. The wearable device delivered precise doses of medication to diabetics and other patients with a variety of medical conditions. Using an AutoSyringe to reliably dispense medication (such as insulin) gave patients greater freedom and control over their disease, dramatically improving their quality of life, while reducing complications and painful daily injections.

Invention Impact

Dean Kamen's AutoSyringe® dramatically improved the lives of patients requiring round-the-clock injections. This class of wearable and automatic infusion pumps reliably administered precise doses of medication to patients with a variety of medical conditions, allowing them to go about their lives. Some of his innovations include a portable dialysis machine and a sophisticated mobility device for the disabled community.

Inventor Bio

Born in Rockville Center , NY , Kamen's natural aptitude for inventing was obvious from childhood. By the time he was a young adult, he was already established as a serious independent inventor. Among his inventions in the medical field are a portable peritoneal dialysis machine and the IBOT, a sophisticated mobility aid capable of climbing stairs and raising the user to eye-level with a standing person.

Among Kamen's proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989. The organization is dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology.

Medical researcher Willem J. Kolff invented the artificial kidney dialysis machine.

Willem J. Kolff
Born Feb 14 1911

Soft Shell Mushroom Shaped Heart
Artificial Heart
Patent Number(s) 3,641,591

Inducted 1985


Medical researcher Willem J. Kolff invented the artificial kidney dialysis machine.

The artificial kidney dialysis machine Kolff invented has been perfected through a series of improvements so that there are an estimated 55,000 people in the U.S. with end-stage renal disease that are being kept alive by this invention or a subsequent modification of it.

Invention Impact

There are an estimated 55,000 people in the U.S. with end-stage renal disease that are being kept alive by this invention or a subsequent modification of it.

Inventor Bio

Born in the Netherlands , Kolff received his M.D. in Leiden in 1938 and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Groningen in Holland in 1946. He holds nine honorary doctorates. Since 1934 Kolff has held numerous medical research positions in the Netherlands and the United States . From 1950 to 1967 he was affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation , ultimately as scientific director of the Artificial Organs Program. Since 1967 he has been professor of surgery and head of the Division of Artificial Organs at the School of Medicine of the University of Utah .

Kolff never patented his original artificial kidney dialysis machine, but after coming to the United States he headed a team which invented and tested an artificial heart.

Interview with Willem Kolff ( Academy of Achievement )

Though his name is most often associated with corporate jet airplanes, William Lear earlier made his mark in car radios and by inventing the eight-track tape player.

William P. Lear
Born Jun 26 1902 - Died May 14 1978

Radio Apparatus
Car Radio
Patent Number(s) 1,944,139

Inducted 1993


Though his name is most often associated with corporate jet airplanes, William Lear earlier made his mark in car radios and by inventing the eight-track tape player.

Invention Impact

Inventor Bio

Born in Hannibal , Missouri , Lear attended public school in Chicago through the eighth grade. At age 16 he joined the Navy, where he learned radio electronics. Following World War I he took up flying.

An early Lear design, a practical car radio, launched the Motorola Company . RCA purchased a radio amplifier design of Lear's, a universal unit usable in their entire line. Lear designed the eight-track player in the 1960s.

Lear began designing navigation aids for aircraft in the 1930s, and under the names Lear Corporation and LearAvia Corporation, filled more than $100 million in defense orders during World War II. After the war, he developed a lightweight automatic pilot. In 1962 he sold his interest in Lear, Inc. to form Learjet, which became the leading supplier of corporate jets within five years.

After Learjet he devoted his energies to development of an antipollution steam engine.

In the 1970s, his aircraft designs included the Canadair Challenger and the Lear Fan, an airplane built entirely from composites. Lear died during development of the Lear Fan, and although there were a number of advance orders it was never put into production.

Gerhard Sessler and James West invented the foil electret microphone while working at Bell Laboratories. This device, which was finalized in 1962, combines high performance features, such as broad frequency range, low noise, and high sensitivity with low cost.

Gerhard M. Sessler
Born Feb 15 1931

Electroacoustic Transducer
Electret Microphone
Patent Number(s) 3,118,022

Inducted 1999


Gerhard Sessler and James West invented the foil electret microphone while working at Bell Laboratories. This device, which was finalized in 1962, combines high performance features, such as broad frequency range, low noise, and high sensitivity with low cost. Its commercial production began in 1968. Today, almost one billion electret microphones are manufactured annually.

In the 1980s at the University of Darmstadt , Sessler developed the first condenser microphones based on silicon micromachining.

Invention Impact

This innovative technology allows for the fabrication of thousands of tiny microphones on a single silicon wafer. These can be used for hearing aids, hearing implants, and other applications.

Inventor Bio

Sessler was born in Rosenfeld , Germany and studied physics at the Universities of Freiburg, Munich , and Goettingen. After receiving his Ph.D. from Goettingen in 1959, Sessler moved to the United States to work at Bell Labs. He stayed at Bell Labs until 1975, when he returned to Germany to become professor of electroacoustics at the University of Darmstadt .

Sessler, who holds over 100 U.S. and foreign patents and is an IEEE Fellow, is the recipient of many awards, including the George R. Stibitz Trophy and the Helmholtz Medal, the highest award of the German Acoustical Society.

James E. West
Born Feb 10 1931

Electroacoustic Transducer
Electret Microphone
Patent Number(s) 3,118,022

Inducted 1999


In 1962, James West and Gerhard Sessler patented the electret microphone while working at Bell Laboratories. In the electret microphone, thin sheets of polymer electret film are metal-coated on one side to form the membrane of the movable plate capacitor that converts sound to electrical signals with high fidelity.

Invention Impact

The microphone became widely used because of its high performance, accuracy, and reliability, in addition to its low cost, small size, and light weight. Ninety percent of today's microphones are electret microphones, and they are used in everyday items such as telephones, camcorders, and tape recorders.

Inventor Bio

West was born in Prince Edward County , Virginia . While attending Temple University , he interned at Bell Labs during his summer breaks and upon his graduation in 1957, he joined the company and began work in electroacoustics, physical acoustics, and architectural acoustics.

West, who is a Fellow of IEEE and a recipient of the George R. Stibitz Trophy, is the recipient of over 200 U.S. and foreign patents. He is also the leader of a program aimed at minority high school students, encouraging them to experience science with the assistance of mentors at Bell Labs.

 

 
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