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The Inventors Hall of Fame Class of 2008

LED-hand.jpgLast week the National Inventors Hall of Fame announced its 2008 inductees. To be inducted, inventors must hold a U.S. patent (sorry Leonardo da Vinci) and "the invention must have contributed to the welfare of mankind and have promoted the progress of science and the useful arts."

Take a look around you. Perhaps you see a digital clock, a solar-powered desk calculator, or your lunch in a Styrofoam container. Each was made possible by one of this year's inductees.

  • Nick Holonyak, Jr. invented the first LED (light emitting diode).
  • Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson were the first to convert the sun's energy into electricity using silicon solar cells.
  • Ray McIntire invented polystyrene foam while working at Dow Chemical.
Other important inventions include Sir John Charnley's low-frictional torque hip replacement in the 1960s and Malcom McLean's concept of containerized shipping. A personal thanks to Robert Adler (ultrasound TV remote) and Ruth Benerito (wrinkle-free cotton). Brief bios for all 18 inductees are available on the website.

The hall was created by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations in 1973. It now contains 371 inductees.

The 2008 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees

Image from joelogon's Flickr stream

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