USPTO Honors National Inventors Hall of Fame 2012 Inductees
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Press Release, 12-29
HALL OF FAME HONORS 2012 INDUCTEES
Group includes inventors of the first statin, holography, carbon
dioxide laser, and laser printer
Washington – 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
This year, the inventors
being honored include:
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.”
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.
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 www.invent.org.
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