Twenty-two innovation pioneers were announced today as the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) 2020 class of Inductees on stage at CES®.
These innovators, whose landmark inventions range from the hard hat to the sports bra, will be celebrated as the newest class of Inductees during the NIHF Induction Ceremony. In partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), NIHF will honor these Inductees in Washington, D.C. on May 6-7 at one of the innovation industry’s most highly anticipated events — “The Greatest Celebration of American Innovation®.”
“My passion for science and creating led me to a career in engineering,” said 2020 Inductee Raffaello D’Andrea, a pioneer of mobile robotic material handling for order fulfillment, professor at ETH Zurich and founder of Verity. “It’s an honor to be recognized alongside Mick Mountz and Pete Wurman for our accomplishments at Kiva Systems.”
THE CLASS OF 2020
• R. Rox Anderson: Laser Dermatology Anderson has improved lives across the world with his invention of laser dermatology treatments and procedures that are now commonly used to remove birthmarks, scars and other skin lesions.
• Sylvia Blankenship and Edward Sisler (Posthumous): 1-MCP for Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Freshness
Blankenship and Sisler invented 1-MCP, a compound that has become essential in preventing food waste, and increasing accessibility to fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers.
• Dana Bookbinder, Ming-Jun Li and Pushkar Tandon: Bend-Insensitive Optical Fiber Bookbinder, Li and Tandon invented the bend-insensitive ClearCurve® optical fiber. Because it can bend without significant signal loss, ClearCurve optical fiber has reached locations previously inaccessible to optical fiber and advanced data transmission across an array of industries.
• Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller and Polly Smith: Sports Bra Lindahl, Miller and Smith invented the sports bra, a revolutionary garment that has enabled women’s participation in athletic activities and advanced women’s health and well-being.
• James McEwen: Automatic Surgical Tourniquet McEwen invented the first microprocessor-controlled automatic surgical tourniquet system, and his innovations ensure safer outcomes in nearly 20,000 surgeries across the world each day.
• Mick Mountz, Peter Wurman and Raffaello D’Andrea: Mobile Robotic Material Handling for Order Fulfillment Mountz, Wurman and D’Andrea invented the Kiva system, a revolutionary warehouse order fulfillment system that uses mobile robots and control software to bring inventory shelves to workers, dramatically improving all aspects of fulfillment operations.
• Margaret Wu: Synthetic Lubricants Wu advanced the field of synthetic lubricants, and she has revolutionized the way both automotive and industrial lubricants are designed and synthesized.
• James Abercrombie and Harry Cameron: Blowout Preventer (BOP); (Posthumous) Abercrombie and Cameron invented the world’s first reliable blowout preventer (BOP) to successfully contain catastrophic blowouts from oil and natural gas wells. This mechanism allowed operators to close wells, control pressure during drilling operations, protect the environment and save lives.
• Stewart Adams and John Nicholson: Ibuprofen (Posthumous) Adams and Nicholson co-developed ibuprofen, which is used worldwide to safely and effectively treat pain, fever and inflammation related to conditions from headaches to arthritis.
• Evelyn Berezin: Computer Systems for Business Use (Posthumous) An expert in logic design and data transmission, Berezin invented a computer reservations system for airlines and founded a company that developed the first computerized standalone word processor for business use.
• Edward W. Bullard: Hard Hat (Posthumous) Bullard invented the hard hat, the first commercially available industrial head protection device. Originally designed for miners, hard hats are now used by millions of people in an array of industries.
• Floyd Smith: Modern Parachute (Posthumous) Smith invented the modern parachute. A trapeze artist turned aviator, Smith’s invention led to the creation of the parachute industry and provided safe landings across the world, saving countless lives.
• Frank Zybach: Center-Pivot Irrigation (Posthumous) Zybach invented the center-pivot irrigation technology that has revolutionized agricultural production not only in America’s heartland but throughout the world.
For full biographies of each Inductee, visit https://www.invent.org/
The class of 2020 will be honored at “The Greatest Celebration of American Innovation,” a two-day event held in our nation’s capital. Danica McKellar — star of the TV show “The Wonder Years,” Hallmark Channel regular, and author of New York Times bestselling McKellar Math books — will serve as master of ceremonies.
• May 6 – Illumination Ceremony at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum at the USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, where new Inductees will place their names on illuminated hexagons in the museum’s Gallery of Icons™.
• May 7 – The 48th Annual National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., where the new Inductee class will be honored for its contributions to society during an evening event including a black-tie dinner, ceremony and after party. To learn more about the event, visit https://www.invent.org/
“Innovation is the foundation for everything we do at the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” said NIHF CEO Michael Oister. “Our class of 2020 — and their world-changing inventions as diverse as ibuprofen, optical fiber, the word processor and the parachute — will be incorporated into our Innovation Ecosystem and our leading children’s STEM programs such as Camp Invention.”
The 2020 National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is sponsored by the USPTO, Qualcomm, AgroFresh, Corning, North Carolina State University and Red Point Digital.
About the National Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Explore the NIHF Museum digitally in Google Arts & Culture’s “Once Upon a Try” project. For more information, visit invent.org. To nominate an inventor for Induction, visit invent.org/nominate.