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March 27, 2013
Press Release, 13-13
USPTO Announces 2013 National Inventors Hall of Fame
- Includes inventors of plasma displays, modern
Washington – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark
Office (USPTO) and the National Inventors Hall of Fame today announced the inductees for 2013. This year’s class includes
inventors behind patented innovations such as the electronic synthesizer, flat panel plasma displays, iris recognition
technology, and the code providing the foundation for 3G cellular systems. This year’s induction ceremony will take
place on May 1, 2013 at the USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The USPTO founded the National Inventors
Hall of Fame in 1973 and has been a long-standing partner since the organization’s incorporation as a separate, non-profit
The National 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 U.S.
patent, and the work must have had a major impact on society, the public welfare, and the progress of science and
the useful arts.
“We are honored to recognize these individuals who conceived, patented, and advanced so many
of the great technological achievements that have changed our world,” said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for
Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO Teresa Stanek Rea.
“On behalf of the White House, I
add my congratulations to this year’s inductees,” said John P. Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology advisor
and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “Your creativity, perseverance, and entrepreneurialism
exemplify the American ‘can-do’ spirit.”
“We look forward to the upcoming induction ceremony, as this
year’s class of inductees demonstrates the importance of innovation,” said Frederick Allen, Chairman of the Board
of Directors of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. “The applications and widespread use of their inventions show
us how vital ingenuity is to not just the well-being of the United States, but also the rest of the world.”
The National Inventors Hall of Fame 2013 Inductees are:
Trapping – At Bell Labs, Ashkin invented optical trapping, also called optical tweezing, a process that traps molecules
and macroscopic particles by using laser light. The technique utilizes radiation pressure, when light or other forms
of radiation exert force on an object. The process has allowed for the study of small particles in many fields.
Donald Bitzer, Robert Willson, Gene Slottow (1921-1989)
Plasma Display – In the mid-1960s, Don Bitzer
and Gene Slottow, faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and graduate student Robert Willson,
worked together to create the first plasma display. A new display was needed for the PLATO computerized learning system
that had been created by Bitzer because traditional displays had no inherent memory, lacked high brightness and contrast,
Steadicam® camera stabilizer – Brown invented the Steadicam camera stabilizer,
ushering in new technology that enhanced movie and television production by allowing directors to obtain shots that
were previously thought impossible. His invention is a body-mounted stabilization device so camera operators can move
freely while filming remains smooth. Among other inventions, Brown also created the Skycam system that changed how
sporting events are filmed by allowing moving aerial views.
John Daugman, Leonard Flom, Aran Safir (1926-2007)
Iris Recognition – Flom and Safir patented their idea for an iris identification system in 1987, basing their
work on the fact that every iris, including in identical twins, is unique. Daugman then went on to invent the iris
recognition biometric algorithms used in the identification of people using the iris. Today, iris recognition is considered
the most accurate in the field of biometric identification based on physical or behavioral characteristics.
Irwin Jacobs, Andrew Viterbi
CDMA Technology – Jacobs and Viterbi, two of Qualcomm’s co-founders, were
major contributors to code division multiple access (CDMA) technology that is used in cellular telephone networks.
CDMA now supports over 1.6 billion subscribers in developing and developed countries with voice and high speed Internet
access. It was standardized for North America in 1993.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
– While working at Bellcore, Lechleider was the first person who demonstrated the feasibility of sending broadband
signals over copper. His work turned the existing copper wire phone network into a high-speed broadband delivery instrument,
allowing for transmission of data at equal rates in both directions. He also suggested that larger amounts of data
could be sent in one direction and smaller amounts in the other, which came to be called asymmetric DSL, or ADSL,
the standard used today in much of the world’s DSL connections.
Samuel Alderson (1914-2005)
Dummy – Alderson was a pioneer in developing the crash-test dummy, a full-scale anthropomorphic test device. The crash-test
dummy has provided automotive engineers with valuable information, enabling them to design more effective safety features
including seat belts and air bags. From its beginnings of use in the automotive industry, dummies have gone on to
provide valuable data in all kinds of development and testing, from aircraft to medical technology.
(1918-2011), Ken Jordan (1929-2008)
Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) – Birden and Jordan were working
at Monsanto’s Mound Laboratory when they developed the RTG, a self-contained power source that obtains its power from
radioactive decay. RTGs have powered most of the exploration vehicles the United States has launched into deep space,
where the sun’s intensity is not sufficient to generate electricity with solar cells and steady, reliable power is
needed in unmanned situations.
Alfred Loomis (1887-1975)
Long Range Navigation System (LORAN) – Among
Loomis’s many innovations, his LORAN radio navigation system for marine and flight navigators is probably the best
known. LORAN used fixed land beacons that allowed navigators to determine a vessel’s location, and it remained an
essential tool until the introduction of the Global Positioning System in the 1990s.
Robert Moog (1934-2005)
Moog Synthesizer – In 1964, Moog introduced the first complete voltage controlled modular synthesizer, an
instrument capable of producing a wide variety of electronic sounds. His synthesizer helped revolutionize the face
of music, giving artists and composers the capability to create a brand new palette of sounds.
Radio telescope – Reber, a pioneering radio astronomer, built the first substantial radio telescope
dedicated to astronomy. Radio astronomy allows for the detection of objects and phenomena not possible with optical
astronomy, utilizing a radio receiver that can amplify faint cosmic signals, making the waves strong enough to be
recorded and charted.
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 will have 487 inductees with its 2013 induction. The National Inventors Hall of
Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the Madison Building on the campus of the USPTO, at 600 Dulany Street,
Alexandria, VA. For more information on the National Inventors Hall of Fame, including inductee nomination forms and
a full listing of inductees, please visit
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