Born November 14, 1933
Physiologically Active Substances
Patent No. 3,983,140
In 1973, Akira Endo of Sankyo Company in Tokyo discovered mevastatin, pioneering research into a new class of molecules known as statins, now a hugely successful class of drugs targeting the lowering of cholesterol.
In the mid-1960s, Endo completed a two-year appointment at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. While in New York, he learned about the connection between high cholesterol and coronary heart disease which led to his hypothesis that inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, a key enzyme in the process of synthesizing cholesterol in the liver, could decrease cholesterol levels. At Sankyo, Endo tested thousands of microbes before ultimately discovering mevastatin, which lowered LDL cholesterol dramatically in patients. Eventually, Endo was invited by Merck in the United States to present on mevastatin, and some time later, Merck introduced the first commercial statin in 1987.
Endo, who received B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Tohoku University in Japan, currently serves as Director of Biopharm Research Laboratories and is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. His honors include the 2006 Japan Prize and the 2008 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.
Born June 5, 1900 - Died February 8, 1979
Electron Optical System
Patent No. 2,452,919
Dennis Gabor is known for his research in electron optics which led to the invention of holography in 1947.
Gabor believed that holograms needed to use both phase and amplitude waves to obtain a complete holo-spatial picture. He proposed to split an electron beam to an object and a mirror which upon reflection would produce interference on a photographic plate, and he proved mathematically that holography would work with both electron beams and regular light. Holograms 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.
Gabor received the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work. A native of Hungary, he studied at the Technical University of Berlin. In 1933, Gabor fled to England and spent much of his career at British Thomson-Houston Research Laboratory and the Imperial College of Science & Technology. Gabor, working with his friend and NIHF Inductee Peter Goldmark, also conducted research at CBS Laboratories in the United States.
Born February 24, 1955 - Died October 5, 2011
Graphical User Interface and Methods of Use Thereof in a Multimedia Player
Patent No. 7,166,791
iPod User Interface
Steve Jobs was just 21 in 1976 when he co-founded Apple Computer with his friend, NIHF 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.
With Jobs as Apple CEO, the first Mac computer was launched in 1984. In 1985, Jobs left Apple and founded NeXT, Inc., a company which sold a desktop computer with advanced software. NeXT was eventually purchased by Apple in 1996. In 1986, Jobs acquired Pixar Animation Studios which went on to create computer-animated film hits, including Toy Story and Finding Nemo. Disney acquired Pixar in 2006. After returning to Apple as CEO in 1997, a number of popular Apple products were introduced, including the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad tablet computer. Jobs made critical contributions to the operating systems for the devices, the design of user interfaces, and the touch screen technology incorporated into them.
A native of California, Jobs received many honors and recognition throughout his life, including being named CEO of the Decade by Fortune magazine in 2009 and receiving the National Medal of Technology in 1985.
Born November 7, 1939
Byzantine Fault Tolerance
Patent No. 6,671,821
Programming Languages and System Design
Barbara Liskov is a pioneer in the design of computer programming languages, helping to make computer programs more reliable, secure, and easy to use. Her innovations can be found within almost all modern programming languages.
Her work with data abstraction began in the 1970s, showing how software could be made easier to construct, modify, and maintain by focusing on data rather than process. Liskov is also 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. Liskov’s recent work focuses on practical Byzantine fault tolerance, involving techniques that allow a system to continue to operate even when some of its components fail.
An MIT Institute Professor, Liskov received her B.A. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford. After working briefly at the Mitre Corporation, she joined MIT in 1972. Her awards include the 2008 A. M. Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery.
C. Kumar N. Patel
Born July 2, 1938
Carbon Dioxide Laser Operating Upon a Vibrational-Rotational Transition
Patent No. 3,596,202
Carbon Dioxide Laser
Kumar Patel invented the carbon dioxide laser in the early 1960s while at Bell Labs. Although many types of lasers exist, the CO2 laser is now a common and versatile laser that is highly efficient and has a reasonable cost. CO2 lasers ushered the area of high power laser applications.
The CO2 laser is widely used in industrial applications including cutting, welding, engraving, and drilling a variety of materials such as metal, ceramics, and plastic. Military applications include range finding, the determination of an exact distance to a target. Furthermore, CO2 lasers have long been popular in the medical field. Laser scalpels offer a high degree of precision and are used in a range of surgical procedures. They are also popular for use in skin resurfacing and dermabrasion, and for treating wrinkles, scars, and other skin conditions. Applications for the CO2 laser continue to be developed.
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 sensing instruments. Patel, who attended the University of Poona in India for his undergraduate degree, received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford.
Born April 17, 1931
Integrated Magnetoresistive Read, Inductive Write, Batch Fabricated Magnetic Head
Thin Film Inductive Transducer
Patent No. 4,295,173
Magnetic thin-film head
IBM researchers David Thompson and Lubomyr Romankiw invented magnetic thin-film storage heads in the 1970s creating new designs for both read and write heads along with a new fabrication process. The thin-film head dramatically increased storage density, greatly decreased disc size and drastically decreased cost of magnetic storage.
The new head designs were beyond the fabrication capabilities of the 1970s. Achieving a practical head required the invention of plating-through-mask technology, new plating electrolytes, a new plating cell design, high aspect ratio lithography, new magnetic material with appropriately tailored properties, and a photoformable thermosetting dielectric. These inventions were integrated into the fabrication process for the first commercial head and have been utilized in subsequent advances such as magnetoresistive heads (MR), giant magnetoresistive heads (GMR), and perpendicular recording (PR),. Thin-film technology is in virtually every disk drive marketed today.
Originally from Ukraine, Romankiw received a B.Sc. from the University of Alberta in Edmonton and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from MIT. He joined IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in 1962, where he remains today. He has been named an IBM Fellow for his contribution to magnetic data storage technology and has received numerous national awards and honors including the prestigious Perkin Medal. Since the thin film head work, Romankiw has actively extended the new technology to many other electronic components. His current activities include inductors for on-chip power conversion and electroplated photovoltaic solar devices.
Gary K. Starkweather
Born January 9, 1938
Flying Spot Flat Field Scanner
Patent No. 3,970,359
While working for Xerox in Webster, NY, Gary Starkweather began work on an idea for a laser printer, a machine that could print any image created by a computer. Computer printers did exist at the time but were large, awkward, mechanical machines that had many limitations. After creating a crude prototype, Starkweather transferred to Xerox PARC in 1971 to continue developing his idea.
At PARC, Starkweather created SLOT, his “scanning laser output terminal,” using a Xerox 7000 copier as his base. A laser beam carried digital information, and the 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. In fact, the original laser printer made billions of dollars for Xerox, the most commercially profitable product to come out of the PARC facility.
Starkweather received a B.S. degree in physics from Michigan State University and an M.S. in optics from the University of Rochester. After working briefly at Bausch & Lomb, he went on to work at Xerox in 1964, staying for over 20 years. He spent 10 years at Apple Computer, then 8 years at Microsoft before retiring in 2005.
Born December 12, 1900 - Died December 2, 1995
Thixotropic Mixture and Method of Making Same
Patent No. 3,986,969
Solar Thermal Storage Systems
Mária 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.
Originally from Hungary, Telkes came to the U.S. in 1925, working initially as a biophysicist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and then a research engineer at Westinghouse. Later, she joined MIT where she focused on the practical uses and applications of solar energy. 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 and which saved the lives of downed airmen and torpedoed sailors. At New York University, her research included developing an easy-to-use solar oven. Telkes would go on to work at Curtiss-Wright, Cryo-Therm, Melpar, and finally, the University of Delaware’s Institute of Energy Conversion.
Telkes was born in Budapest, Hungary where she attended the University of Budapest earning a B.A. and Ph.D. in physical chemistry. Among her honors are the Society of Women Engineer’s Achievement Award and the Charles Greely Abbot Award from the International Solar Energy Society.
David A. Thompson
Born December 17, 1940
Thin Film Inductive Transducer
Patent No. 4,295,173
Magnetic thin-film storage head
IBM researchers David Thompson and Lubomyr Romankiw invented the first practical magnetic thin-film storage heads in the late 1970s, 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.
Their technology has been key to the success of the disk drive industry which is estimated to generate more than $35 billion in annual sales. By increasing storage capacity, additional products for consumer use were made possible. Today’s most advanced products employ thin-film head technology, and data can be stored so densely and cheaply—over 400 billion bits of data per square inch of disk surface—that disk drives have expanded into new markets, such as storage for digital devices. Thin film recording heads can be found in every disk drive marketed today.
Thompson attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology where he received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. He began work at the IBM Watson Research Center in 1968, moving to IBM’s Almaden Research Center in 1987 and retiring in 2000. Thompson was named an IBM Fellow in 1980.
Born February 27, 1923
Bandage for Administering Drugs
Patent No. 3,598,122
Controlled drug delivery systems
Alejandro Zaffaroni is a biotechnology innovator whose early work with controlled drug delivery methods, particularly his early concepts for transdermal patches, led to the growth of research into innovative drug delivery systems.
Zaffaroni founded ALZA Corporation in 1968 to pursue his ideas for controlled drug delivery systems. His first innovations at ALZA included a thin film for the eye for glaucoma treatment and a contraceptive device that released progesterone. Zaffaroni received his patents on transdermal systemic drug delivery in the early 1970s. In 1981, ALZA worked with the Swiss company Ciba-Geigy, and the FDA approved the first transdermal delivery system with scopolamine, Transderm-Scop®, for motion sickness, followed closely by Transderm-Nitro® for angina. ALZA ultimately brought over 20 prescription products to market before being acquired by Johnson & Johnson.
To date, the FDA has approved more than 40 transdermal products containing substances such as nicotine, hormones, pain medications, and antidepressants. Zaffaroni founded a series of biotech companies, the latest being Alexza Pharmaceuticals. A native of Uruguay, Zaffaroni came to the U.S. to study for his Ph.D. at the University of Rochester. He received the National Medal of Technology in 1995.