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50 Years of Innovation: Honoring Persistence

“Perseverance is the one thing that makes the difference. You don’t fail until you give up.”
— National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the Super Soaker®


Of all the world’s greatest ideas and inventions, none would ever have come to fruition without persistence.

Since 1973, our team here at the National Inventors Hall of Fame has learned this lesson —and many more — directly from our world-changing Inductees. As we mark the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary this year, we’re celebrating the power of perseverance and inviting you to join us in empowering the next generation to become resilient creators and problem solvers.

Never Giving Up

“My motto is to make the impossible possible by never giving up,” said Hall of Fame Inductee Chieko Asakawa. The inventor of the Home Page Reader, Asakawa lost her sight at the age of 14 and wanted to help others facing the challenges of vision loss. Her invention made it possible for blind and visually impaired computer users to browse the internet and navigate webpages through a computer’s numeric keypad. It debuted in 1997, and by 2003, it was widely used around the world.

Asakawa’s story is one of more than 600 that can be found as you search through the biographies of National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees. Each of the world-changing inventors we’ve honored over the past 50 years has demonstrated the importance of overcoming obstacles and setbacks, and making a commitment to progress.

“If I don’t fail every once in a while, I’m not working hard enough.”
— Inductee Jim West, co-inventor of the electret microphone


“There's a saying in the Army: ‘You improvise, adapt and overcome.’ So I just kept crawling forward.”
— Inductee Rory Cooper, inventor of wheelchair technology


“If you've got a good idea, follow it even when others say it's not.”
— Inductee Frances Arnold, inventor of directed evolution of enzymes


“However difficult the path, if you love what you are doing, you’re going to find a way.”
— Inductee Marshall Jones, inventor of industrial lasers


Always Moving Forward

In addition to honoring the perseverance and impact of legendary innovators, our Hall of Fame also is dedicated to encouraging persistence and resilience in coming generations.

With the help of our educator partners, sponsors and donors, we provide children across the country with invention education programs including Camp Invention® and Invention Project®. Through hands-on challenges that are directly inspired and informed by our Inductees, children turn their ideas into inventions while learning to see a failure or setback as an opportunity to learn, grow and improve. They build and apply the I Can Invent® Mindset – the same mindset demonstrated by seasoned inventors.

With determination, confidence and adaptability, there is no limit to what these young problem solvers can accomplish, now and in the future.

“I was able to let students take the lead in the classroom and learn through productive struggle. The most meaningful part was seeing student's resilience. When their project failed, they did not get upset and give up. They tried a new technique or asked their fellow inventors for feedback.”
— Lynsi C., Educator, The Colony, TX


“My child loved learning how to try a new skill, make alterations and then try again. Before, he would try once. If it didn't work, he would be frustrated, feel like he failed and want to give up. Thank you for building his confidence to make a mistake and continue to push through until he figured out a solution.”
— Laura M., Camp Invention parent, Atlanta, GA


“My daughter loved answering my questions about the obstacles she faced and how she overcame them. She truly enjoys problem solving now.”
— Aquilla R., Camp Invention parent, Highland, IN


“My son has a greater resilience when it comes to looking for unique ways to solve a problem instead of giving up when the solution doesn’t come easily.”
— Kacey C., Camp Invention parent, Spring, TX


Share Your Story

Do you or your child have a personal story about the power of persistence? Visit our website to share your story and learn how you could win a trip to Washington, D.C., to help us celebrate our 50th anniversary at the 2023 National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony!

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