National Inventors Hall of Fame Announces 2010 Inductees

Inventors of Post-it(R) Notes, GPS, Diamonds, SCUBA, Video Games, Corning-Ware(R) products and Electric Rockets are honored

Mar 31, 2010, 00:01 ET from National Inventors Hall of Fame

WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Dedicated to paying homage to the men and women whose ideas, discoveries and entrepreneurial spirit have changed the world, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has announced its 2010 Inductees.  This year's Induction ceremony, sponsored in part by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Kauffman Foundation, takes place today at the United States Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.   The innovations of the 2010 Inductees literally spawned industries such as video gaming, GPS time navigation, and recreational underwater diving, and also gave us pharmaceuticals and methods to treat cancer, and electric rockets to keep communications satellites exactly in orbit.

Today's Induction will be hosted by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, David Kappos. Collectively the 2010 hall of fame Inductees have added tremendous value to the American economy with inventions like Post-it Notes, man-made diamonds, and break-resistant, high temperature, glass ceramics used in rockets, but also found in Corning Ware pots and pans.

"We at the National Inventors Hall of Fame are proud of our 38-year history of drawing much deserved attention to the remarkable people who exemplify the key role that innovation plays in America's free enterprise system," said Edward Gray, President of the Board of Directors of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  "The individuals of this year's class of outstanding inventors have shaped our future and their remarkable achievements will surely inspire a whole new generation of like-minded dreamers to see the worth of hard work and passion."

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 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.

"These brilliant inventors truly illustrate the important impact of our intellectual property protection system," David Kappos Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO commented.  "The groundbreaking patents behind these inventions provided the foundations for numerous corporations, life-saving therapies, and everyday devices that have improved all of our lives.  The USPTO is pleased to join in recognizing these 16 pioneers."

The National Inventors Hall of Fame 2010 Inductees are:


Ralph Baer

Home Video Game System - Engineer Ralph Baer, a pioneer in the field of interactive video, invented what became known as the Magnavox Odyssey Home Video Game System, introduced in 1972.  He also developed the well-known game Simon, a single-chip, microprocessor controlled memory game, introduced in 1978.  In 2004, the video game industry accounted for more than $8 billion in sales, with sales of $15 billion projected for 2010.

Yvonne Brill

Electrothermal Hydrazine Thruster - Yvonne Brill is an innovator in rocket propulsion.  She invented the small rocket propulsion systems used to keep geosynchronous communications satellites exactly where they need to be to align with antennas on earth. These rockets, called electrothermal hydrazine thrusters and developed at RCA Astro Electronics, first flew in space in 1981 and remain standard in the industry today.

Roger Easton

TIMATION Satellite Navigation System - Roger Easton developed the satellite-based TIMATION system that included key components used in today's Global Positioning System. Easton's time navigation scheme, developed at the Naval Research Laboratory, was the first to fly atomic clocks on satellites, a breakthrough that enabled both space and ground based system components to maintain exact time synchronization.  

Art Fry, Spencer Silver

Post-it® Notes - In 1968, Spencer Silver was a senior scientist at 3M when he discovered an acrylic adhesive that had unique properties.  Art Fry was a 3M researcher when he learned of the adhesive in the early 1970s.  Experimenting with it, he created the concept of Post-it® notes, and years of perfecting design and production followed.  Post-it notes were introduced in 1980 and are perennially on the lists of best-selling office products.

S. Donald Stookey

Glass Ceramics - Donald Stookey spent his career at Corning Glass Works, where he invented glass ceramics.  Glass ceramics heralded a new field of research in glass; their hardness and strength made them ideal for many industrial and aerospace uses but are perhaps best known for their use in the Corning Ware® line of consumer dishes introduced in 1958.


M. Judah Folkman (1933-2008)

Angiogenesis Inhibition - Judah Folkman was a surgical resident conducting research in the 1960s when he wondered if retarding angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, could be a way to treat cancer.  He discovered that blood vessel formation was crucial to tumor development, and that limiting the flow of blood would keep tumors in check. His ideas were applied to cancer research and resulted in a number of successful cancer drugs, including Avastin® pharmaceuticals.  

Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910-1997), Emile Gagnan (1900-1984)

Aqualung Diving Equipment - French natives Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan combined Cousteau's practical underwater experience with Gagnan's engineering expertise to invent the demand regulator, the key component in Aqualung diving equipment, or SCUBA. First introduced in the U.S. in 1952, Cousteau's and Gagnan's underwater apparatus has become ubiquitous for underwater exploration and sport.

W. Lincoln Hawkins (1911-1992), Vincent Lanza (1922-1972), Field Winslow (1916-2009)

Polymer Cable Sheath - Lincoln Hawkins, Vince Lanza, and Field Winslow invented a process to make plastic sheathing to protect communications cables. Prior to their work polymers designed to protect cable were ineffective and deteriorated rapidly, especially in sunlight. The Bell Labs team developed a unique formulation of additives to polyethylene which was able to survive in direct sunlight and other harsh environmental conditions for seventy years, or more. Their sheathing is still used worldwide today to protect both fiber optic and electrical communications cable.

Francis Bundy (1910-2008), H. Tracy Hall (1919-2008), Herbert Strong (1908-2002),  

Robert Wentorf, Jr. (1926-1997)

Synthetic Diamond - Francis Bundy, Tracy Hall, Herbert Strong, and Robert Wentorf were members of General Electric Research and Development's Project Superpressure team. During the 1950s, their experiments led to a repeatable process to produce synthetic diamond from carbon. Today hundreds of millions of carats of man-made diamonds are produced annually for all sorts of industrial applications including surgery scalpels, highway resurfacing machines, stone cutting saw blades and fine grit for tooth polish.

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 Inducted 421 inventors to date.   The National 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 an interactive archive of Inductees, please visit For more information on the United States Patent and Trademark Office, please visit  

SOURCE National Inventors Hall of Fame