The National Inventors Hall of Fame Announces 2016 Class of Inductees

The Nation's Most Distinguished Innovators Recognized for Monumental Breakthroughs

Dec 09, 2015, 09:49 ET from National Inventors Hall of Fame

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is pleased to announce the 2016 Inductees, all of whom have revitalized the world through human, social and/or economic progress.

This year's class of Inductees includes 16 impressive visionaries, such as Victor Lawrence, responsible for improving transmission within the modern Internet; Sheldon Kaplan, the inventor of EpiPen® Auto-Injector, which has saved countless lives by treating anaphylaxis; and the trio of Jonathan (JD) Albert, Barrett Comiskey and Joseph Jacobson, for electronic ink to create a book that could be changed and renewed at the push of a button – widely used in e-books. See complete list below.

"The art of innovation is not easily achieved…it is a blend of inspiration, dedication and persistence," said Invent Now Inc. CEO, Michael Oister. "This year's Inductee class showcases a group of inventors who pushed the limits and overcame adversity to yield success and drive the future of our nation."

The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in the Madison Building on the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, Va., was established in 1973 and honors monumental individuals who have contributed great technological and scientific achievements that have helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. The criteria for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a U.S. patent that has contributed significantly to the nation's welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts.

"I am very humbled to be recognized with this esteemed honor," said Dr. Victor Lawrence. "As an electrical engineer born in West Africa, I hope to inspire future generations and minorities to study in the STEM field. I believe that the National Inventors Hall of Fame provides a platform to tell the Inductees' stories and motivate change in the world."

Both new and previous Inductees will be honored in the "Greatest Celebration of American Innovation," a two-day event held in our nation's capital. Mo Rocca, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and Host of The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

  • May 4th - Illumination Ceremony at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum on the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, Va., where Inductees will place individual illuminated hexagons bearing their names in the centerpiece display to symbolize lighting the path of history throughout the nation, while simultaneously influencing the future of innovation
  • May 5th – A VIP Reception followed by the official National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held in our nation's capital, where the new Inductee class will be honored for lighting the "fire of genius" through their contributions to the prosperity and well-being of America and the world

"It is evident that the 2016 Inductee class has had a revolutionary impact on our nation, and together they have significantly influenced the progress of global innovation," said Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. "We are honored to join with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to celebrate these inspiring innovators who have proved the value of maximizing the strengths of the U.S. patent system."

As part of their continued involvement in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inductees will help to foster the development of America's next generation of innovators by inspiring the curriculum of Camp Invention, the nation's premier summer enrichment day camp that encourages innovation in youth and focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Inductees also serve as judges for the Collegiate Inventors Competition, a national platform for showcasing the emerging ideas and technologies that will benefit our society in the future.

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The 2016 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees are:

J. Roger P. Angel
Roger Angel invented very large and lightweight primary mirrors for astronomical telescopes. These honeycomb sandwich structures are cast in one piece of glass and polished with a deeply curved, highly aspheric surface by a unique stressed-lap method. These mirrors are used in many of the world's leading observatories.

Bantval Jayant Baliga
B. Jayant Baliga invented the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), a semiconductor power switch that has reduced gasoline consumption by 10 percent and improved electrical energy efficiency by more than 40 percent resulting in eliminating carbon dioxide emissions by over 100 trillion pounds worldwide over the past 25 years. Used in household appliances, cars, solar panels, fluorescent lighting, medical equipment and bullet trains, the IGBT has profoundly impacted the modern world by improving the quality of life for billions of people.

Jonathan (JD) Albert, Barrett Comiskey, Joseph Jacobson
Jonathan (JD) Albert, a mechanical engineering major and Barrett Comiskey, a mathematics major, worked with MIT professor Joseph Jacobson to develop a changeable display for as many books as could be stored in a device's memory. Albert, Comiskey and Jacobson combined their skills from different disciplines and in January 1997 they completed a working prototype of electronic ink, which is the technology cornerstone of the e-reader and e-book industry.

Victor Lawrence
Electrical engineer Victor Lawrence advanced signal processing in telecommunications, which has improved transmission for the modern Internet, made high-speed connections more universally available and stimulated the growth of the global Internet. His work has advanced data encoding and transmission, modem technology, silicon chip design, ATM switching and protocols, DSL, speech and audio coding and digital video.

Radia Perlman
Radia Perlman has played a key role in driving the growth and development of the Internet. Her best known contribution came in 1985: the spanning tree protocol (STP), which transformed Ethernet from a technology limited to a few hundred nodes confined in a single building, into a technology that can create large networks (hundreds of thousands of nodes spread over a large area). Perlman holds over 100 patents and has received many awards, including induction into the National Academy of Engineering, the Internet Hall of Fame and lifetime achievement awards from ACM's SIGCOMM and Usenix.

Ivan Sutherland
Sutherland, considered the father of computer graphics, invented Sketchpad, a man-machine graphical communication system, which broke new ground in 3D computer modeling, visual simulation and human-computer interaction. Sutherland's invention enabled users to design and draw in real time directly on the computer display, using a light pen.

Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon (honored posthumously) discovered high performance carbon fibers. Their properties, including high tensile strength and stiffness, low weight and high temperature tolerance make them useful in aerospace, civil engineering, military, motorsports and competitive sports.

Per-Ingvar Branemark
Physician and professor of anatomy Per-Ingvar Branemark (honored posthumously) is known as the pioneer of osseointegration, which uses titanium implants to create a stable connection between a dental implant and bone. Today, the modern dental implant is a widely practiced standard technique used among dentists.

Sheldon Kaplan
Sheldon Kaplan (honored posthumously) invented the EpiPen® Auto-Injector which was introduced in 1980 to treat anaphylactic shock. It has since been widely carried by hundreds of thousands of individuals with allergies to treat potentially severe allergic reactions.

John Silliker and Welton Taylor
John Silliker and Welton Taylor (honored posthumously) progressed microbiological food safety and testing through their work.  They are globally recognized in the food industry for their fundamental and extensive contributions to the field of microbiology in preventing bacterial contamination of processed food. Their work includes a highly accurate method to test for salmonella, a method that is still used in labs around the world.

William Sparks and Robert Thomas
Responding to calls from the government for the need for synthetic rubber during the years preceding World War II, William Sparks and Robert Thomas (honored posthumously) co-invented butyl rubber while they worked at Standard Oil. Today, butyl rubber is commonly used in items such as protective gloves, sealants and adhesives, inner tubes and bladders inside sports balls.

Harriet Strong
Harriet Strong (honored posthumously) is known for her invention of a system of dams and reservoirs for water storage and flood control that contributed to the development of Southern California as an agricultural region. She also gained a reputation as a business owner, horticulturist and civic leader.

About the National Inventors 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 Associations, the Hall of Fame will have 532 Inductees with its 2016 Induction. The National Inventors Hall of Fame is located in the Madison Building on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA.  Admission is free.  Arrangements for the appearance of Mo Rocca made through Greater Talent Network, Inc., New York, N.Y. For more information on the National Inventors Hall of Fame, including Inductee nomination forms and a full listing of Inductees, please visit

About Invent Now:
The mission of Invent Now is to be a catalyst for change through recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Invent Now was founded in 1973 as the National Inventors Hall of Fame with the mission of recognizing and honoring the great inventors of our time. Now a supporting organization of Invent Now, Inc., the National Inventors Hall of Fame honors individuals in recognition of their patented inventions that have created entire industries and driven this nation's economic progress.

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SOURCE National Inventors Hall of Fame