February 2004

National Inventors Hall of Fame

National Inventors Hall of Fame announces 2004 class of inventors

Inventors honored for work that impacts the way we live

Washington, D.C. (February 11, 2004)--Continuing its tradition of honoring humanity's greatest inventors, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has recognized the next group of innovators who will be inducted into its ranks.

This year's class of inventors represents accomplishments in medicine, engineering, computing, and more. From the discovery and identification of HIV to the advent of GPS technology, and from accessible cataract eye surgery to advanced electronics, these inventors have truly bettered everyday lives through their work.

The 2004 class of inductees:
  • Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip (posthumous): Insulin for diabetics
  • Vannevar Bush (posthumous): Differential Analyzer
  • Harry Coover: Superglue
  • Wallace Coulter (posthumous): Blood counter
  • Ray Dolby: Noise reduction systems
  • Edith Flanigen: Molecular filters for petroleum processing
  • Robert Gallo, Luc Montagnier: HIV isolation and diagnosis
  • Ivan Getting (posthumous), Bradford Parkinson: Global Positioning System--GPS
  • John Gibbon (posthumous): Heart-lung machine
  • Lloyd Hall (posthumous): Food preservation techniques
  • Elias Howe (posthumous): Sewing machine
  • Charles Kelman: Cataract eye surgery
  • Bernard Oliver, Claude Shannon (posthumous): Pulse Code Modulation
  • Norbert Rillieux (posthumous): Modern sugar refining
  • John Roebling (posthumous): Modern suspension bridge

    Every year, the National Inventors Hall of Fame honors through induction the men and women whose work has changed society and improved the way we live. Their vision, hard work, and creative drive have led to powerful new tools that shape the future while celebrating invention. The 2004 class will be inducted this year on May 1st at the annual induction ceremony held in Akron, Ohio.

    "We're pleased to honor such an outstanding group of individuals this year," said Rick Nydegger, President of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. "These 20 inventors have patented inventions that have impacted our lives in very significant and beneficial ways, and we look forward to bestowing this honor upon them."

    This year's inductees are an accomplished group:
    Frederick Banting (1891-1941), Charles Best (1899-1978), James Collip (1892-1965)
    Purified Insulin
    Canadian scientists Banting, Best, and Collip determined that insulin injections would help keep diabetics alive and developed techniques for extracting, isolating, and injecting it. Before insulin injections, physicians were unable to reverse the wasting process that led to the death of many diabetics. Although not a cure, insulin remains the most effective means for treating the disease.

    Vannevar Bush (1890-1974)
    Differential Analyzer
    During WWII, Bush headed the Office of Scientific Research and Development, overseeing the work of 6,000 scientists developing over 200 military weapons and instruments. His most significant invention was the differential analyzer, an analog computer using electrical motors to drive shafts and gears representing terms in an equation. It solved differential equations with as many as 18 independent variables.

    Harry Coover (1919- )
    Coover's invention of a new class of adhesives has influenced medicine, industry, and consumers. At Eastman Chemical, Coover discovered cyanoacrylate adhesives (CA), soon known as superglue. Early use of CA during the Vietnam War allowed for the quick closure of wounds. Other medical uses have been found for CA, as well as many everyday uses for superglue. Coover, who holds over 460 patents, resides in Kingsport, Tennessee.

    Wallace Coulter (1913-1998)
    Coulter Principle
    A common diagnostic medical tool, the complete blood count would not be possible without Coulter's invention of the Coulter Counter. An instrument for counting blood cells, the device was based on the Coulter Principle, a methodology for counting, measuring, and evaluating particles suspended in a fluid. Coulter received numerous honors and was awarded 74 patents for his work in hematology.

    Ray Dolby (1933- )
    Dolby Noise Reduction
    During the 1960s, Dolby discovered a way to dramatically reduce the "hiss" from analog tape sound recording and reproduction, revolutionizing the audio industry. As a result, the cassette became the most popular form of recorded music in the 1970s, and cinema audiences were able to enjoy surround sound from almost all movies, beginning with such releases as Star Wars and Apocalypse Now. He founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965, and the San Francisco-based company continues to develop and manufacture professional and consumer electronics today.

    Edith Flanigen (1929- )
    Molecular sieves
    A pioneer in silicate and molecular sieve chemistry, Flanigen synthesized new generations of molecular filter materials with applications in the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries. During her 42-year career at Union Carbide and UOP, Flanigen invented or co-invented over 200 synthetic materials. Her work with zeolite Y made oil refining more efficient, cleaner, and safer, and she also invented an emerald synthesizing process. Flanigen, a recipient of the Perkin Medal, resides in White Plains, New York.

    Robert Gallo (1937- ), Luc Montagnier (1932- )
    HIV Isolation and Identification
    Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier both discovered HIV, determining that the virus was the cause of AIDS. Today, patients can be diagnosed with HIV, making it more possible to control the disease. Formerly a cancer researcher at the National Cancer Institute, Gallo now heads the Institute of Human Virology in Baltimore. Montagnier is the former director of the Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS), and he is the co-founder of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention in Paris.

    Ivan Getting (1912-2003), Bradford Parkinson (1935- )
    Global Positioning System--GPS
    Getting conceived the idea of a Global Positioning System. While serving as vice president of research and engineering at the Raytheon Corp. during the 1950s, he advanced the concept of using a system of satellites to allow the calculation of precise positioning data for rapidly moving vehicles ranging from cars to missiles. Getting also made significant contributions to the early development of radar and Projects Mercury and Gemini. Parkinson created and ran the NAVSTAR GPS Joint Program Office from 1972-78. As the program's first manager, he has been the chief architect of GPS throughout the system's conception, engineering development, and implementation. GPS is now routinely used for air traffic control systems, ships, trucks and cars, mechanized farming, search and rescue, tracking environmental changes, and more.

    John Gibbon (1903-1973)
    Heart-Lung Machine
    Gibbon's development of the heart-lung machine made possible the first successful open-heart operation in 1953. This invention allowed surgeons to perform operations once deemed too risky to attempt. Improved versions allow surgeons today to perform bypass surgery and heart transplants. A renowned surgeon and teacher, Gibbon authored the textbook Surgery of the Chest.

    Lloyd Hall (1894-1971)
    Food preservatives
    Hall made great strides in keeping food fresh and making it more flavorful. He created food preservatives, meat curing products, seasonings, emulsions, bakery products, antioxidants, protein hydrolysates, and numerous other products. He also discovered and developed novel techniques for sterilizing spices, cereals, and other foods and pharmaceuticals that are widely used today.

    Elias Howe (1819-1867)
    Sewing Machine
    Howe invented the first practical sewing machine after watching his wife sew. His machine pulled thread from a bottom spindle below the cloth while thread came down via a needle above the cloth. The needle pushed the top thread through the cloth, creating a loop on the other side, and a shuttle would push the bottom thread through the loop, creating a locked stitch. The technique is still used today.

    Charles D. Kelman (1930- )
    Cataract Surgery
    Dr. Charles Kelman developed the procedure and the instruments for phacoemulsification, the preferred surgical procedure for removing cataracts. In 1963, Kelman designed the ultrasonic phacoemulsifier, which liquefies cataracts so they can be removed by suction. The pioneering procedure reduced the risk of complications and transformed a 10-day hospital stay to an outpatient procedure. Kelman and his family live in Boca Raton, Florida.

    Bernard Oliver (1916-1995), Claude Shannon (1916-2001)
    Pulse Code Modulation
    Oliver and Shannon developed Pulse Code Modulation, the first high-speed digital transmission system based on coded electronic pulses. Digital telephone systems and the ability to record on compact discs are attributed to PCM. Oliver had a respected career at Bell Laboratories and also at Hewlett-Packard, where he was pivotal in developing the first hand-held calculator. Shannon is considered the father of information theory, which is considered the foundation of today's computer technology.

    Norbert Rillieux (1806-1894)
    Automated Sugar Refining
    Rillieux automated modern sugar production and made it dramatically more efficient, while producing a much higher quality of sugar. It transformed the lives of slaves who were previously forced to endure the dangerous and backbreaking task of boiling sugar cane in open cauldrons. His process elevated the U.S. from a minor role in the sugar industry to a major producer.

    John Roebling (1806-1869)
    Suspension Bridge
    The age of the suspension bridge was ushered in by engineer and inventor Roebling. Roebling saw the potential of steel wire as a bridge building component and invented machinery to twist the wire into cables. Roebling oversaw the construction of many bridges but died before his most famous bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, was completed in 1883.

    Inventors may be nominated by anyone for induction into the Hall of Fame, but they must hold a U.S. patent to be considered. The nominee's invention must have contributed to the welfare of society and have promoted the progress of science and the useful arts. All nominations are reviewed by the Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from national science and technology organizations.

    The not-for-profit National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier organization in America dedicated to honoring and fostering creativity and invention. Each year a new class of inventors is inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of their patented inventions that make human, social, and economic progress possible. Founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall's permanent home is Akron, Ohio, where the inventors in the Hall are honored and from where it administers its national programs, including Camp Invention®, Club Invention®, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition®.

    Note: For more information, including image access, visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame web site at www.invent.org/2004induction for downloads. For further questions, including inventor interview inquiries, please contact Rini Paiva, National Inventors Hall of Fame, at 330.388.6160 or [email protected].

  • This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright © 2004