16 Inventors to Take Their Place in History for Contributions to Our Everyday Lives

National Inventors Hall of Fame Announces 30th Class of Inductees at HP

May 16, 2002, 01:00 ET from National Inventors Hall of Fame

    PALO ALTO, Calif., May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A new class of inventors will
 soon take its place of distinction in history beside the 168 inventors
 currently honored in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, it was announced
 today at a ceremony at the headquarters of HP (NYSE:   HPQ), the leading
 corporate sponsor of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  The inductees'
 achievements, which span the fields of medicine, technology, the environment
 and automotive safety, have had a significant impact on the way people live.
     The inventors honored today are:
     * Raymond Kurzweil - Kurzweil Reading Machine
     * Nils Bohlin - 3-point Safety Belt
     * Rangaswamy Srinivasan, James Wynne and Samuel Blum - Excimer Laser
     * M. Stephen Heilman, Alois Langer, Morton Mower and Michel Mirowski -
       Implantable Defibrillator
     * Ronald Bagley, Irwin Lachman and Ronald Lewis - Ceramic Substrate for
       Catalytic Converters
     * Felix Hoffman (posthumous) - Aspirin
     * John Presper Eckert, Jr. and John Mauchly (posthumous) - ENIAC Data
       Translating Device
     * Henry Bessemer (posthumous) - Bessemer Steel Process
     In its 200 years of existence, the United States Patent & Trademark Office
 has issued over six million patents.  Yet only a few patent holders are widely
 known despite the significant impact of their inventions on our lives and
     The National Inventors Hall of Fame each year celebrates invention by
 honoring the men and women who have changed the way we live through their
 patented technologies that save lives and make human, social and economic
 progress possible.
     "This year's class of inductees comprises some of the brightest minds of
 our time," said Donald Keck, president, National Inventors Hall of Fame
 Foundation.  "The imaginative and innovative contributions of the 16 inventors
 before us have helped shape the lifestyles we live today."
     HP's sponsorship of the National Inventors Hall of Fame is part of the
 company's Invent sponsorship program, which encourages technological invention
 for future generations by supporting creative and pioneering organizations
 around the world.
     "To recognize the contributions of these individuals is not only an honor
 in and of itself," said Richard DeMillo, VP of Technology Strategy for HP.
 "It is an opportunity to reflect on the true power of acting on a single
     The achievements of this year's inductees include*:
     Kurzweil Reading Machine - Raymond Kurzweil
     Invented by Raymond Kurzweil, regarded as the Thomas Edison of our day,
 this technology scans and reads printed material and is considered the most
 significant advancement for the blind since Braille.  Stevie Wonder bought the
 first one, and it was introduced to the world on January 13, 1976, when Walter
 Cronkite closed the news by using it to say, "And that's the way it is..." To
 invent the reading machine, Kurzweil pioneered many of today's computer
 technologies such as the scanners we have at our desks.  He also is an author
 and expert on artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and is leading the
 idea that computers may someday surpass the thinking power of humans. (Patent
 issued, latest version, Feb. 23, 1999)
     3-Point Safety Belt - Nils Bohlin
     Invented by the first safety engineer ever hired by Volvo, Nils Bohlin.
 He was an advocate for seat belt safety and is proud every time he hears that
 a seat belt saved a life. His work to convince the U.S. public to accept seat
 belts is part of the reason they are mandated in 49 states today. (Patent
 issued July 10, 1962)
     Excimer Laser Surgery - Rangaswamy Srinivasan, James Wynne, Samuel Blum
     This is the procedure used in LASIK eye surgery, which has restored sight
 for over two million Americans and over five million people worldwide.  It
 took this IBM team much effort to convince the medical community that the
 laser was safe and would not harm surrounding tissue. (Patent issued November
 15, 1988)
     Implantable Defibrillator - M. Stephen Heilman, Alois Langer, Morton
 Mower, Michel Mirowski
     Dick Cheney has one, and so do over 300,000 heart patients who would
 otherwise die from sudden cardiac arrhythmia.  The implantable defibrillator
 is over 99 percent effective in preventing sudden cardiac arrest. (Patent
 issued May 13, 1980)
     Ceramic Substrate For Catalytic Converters - Rodney Bagley, Irwin Lachman,
 Ronald Lewis
     The Clean Air Act of 1970 challenged these inventors to create a way to
 remove toxins from automotive emissions.  Because of them, we have unleaded
 gas and significantly cleaner air today.  (Patent issued February 5, 1974)
     Aspirin - Felix Hoffmann (1868-1946)
     The closest thing we have to a miracle drug in our lives.  Hippocrates
 used the bark of willow trees to alleviate labor pain, but Hoffmann's effort
 to develop and market the drug, which he gave to his father to help his
 arthritis, is the reason for its widespread use today.  A chemist at Bayer,
 Hoffmann found that his company did not want to manufacture or market the drug
 so he conducted tests in secrecy. Thousands take an aspirin a day to prevent
 heart attack and stroke.  The latest studies link aspirin to a cure for
 prostate cancer. (Patent issued February 27, 1900)
     ENIAC Data Translating Device - John Presper Eckert, Jr. (1919-1995)
 and John Mauchly (1907-1980)
     ENAIC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) is the basis of the
 modern computer, although it weighed 30 tons, was 150 feet long and had to be
 manually programmed by over 200 operators.  WWII and a contract from the
 government gave birth to the project, which was originally meant to calculate
 missile information and was used to develop the H-bomb.  Although 1,000 times
 faster than anything before it, ENIAC would be outperformed by a 1970s
 calculator. (Patent issued December 4, 1951)
     Bessemer Steel Process - Henry Bessemer (1813-1898)
     Steel was scarce until he invented the process that made steel production
 cheaper and faster, truly the foundation of modern industry.  (Patent issued
 November 11, 1856)
     Each September, a new group of inventors is inducted into the National
 Inventors Hall of Fame.  Inventors may be nominated by anyone, but inductees
 must hold a U. S. patent to be considered.  The nominee's invention must have
 contributed to the welfare of mankind and have promoted the progress of
 science and the useful arts.  This year's induction ceremony will be held on
 September 21, 2002 in Akron, Ohio.
     About HP
     HP is a leading global provider of products, technologies, solutions and
 services to consumers and businesses. The company's offerings span IT
 infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and
 imaging and printing. HP merged with Compaq Computer Corp. on May 3, 2002. The
 merged company had combined revenue of approximately $81.7 billion in fiscal
 2001 and operations in more than 160 countries. More information about HP is
 available at http://www.hp.com .
     About the National Inventors Hall of Fame
     The not-for-profit National Inventors Hall of Fame(R) 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 National
 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 &
 Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law
 Associations, the Hall's permanent home is Akron, Ohio, and serves as both a
 museum and an educational programming resource.  For more information or to
 nominate an inventor, go to www.invent.org .
     * To download press releases on each invention to be honored this year, as
       well as images of the inventors, please go to www.invent.org .
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SOURCE National Inventors Hall of Fame