National Inventors Hall of Fame announces 2009 inductees

February 11, 2009

Washington, D.C. (February 11, 2009)--Dedicated to recognizing inventors and innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has announced its 2009 class of inductees. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit, this year's class represents advances related to or enabled by integrated circuit technology. The 2009 group includes inventors such as Jean Hoerni, who developed the manufacturing process for modern integrated circuits; Alfred Cho, who achieved a process used in creating devices such as the lasers used in CD and DVD players and drives; and George Heilmeier, who pioneered the first liquid crystal displays.

The 2009 inductees include 10 living inventors and five deceased.

The 2009 class of inductees:

LIVINGPOSTHUMOUS RECOGNITION"Virtually every electronic device in use today relies on advances in integrated circuit technology," says Fred Allen, Vice President of Selection for the National Inventors Hall of Fame. "By honoring the accomplishments of this year's inductees, we are acknowledging their contributions that have done no less than make our modern way of life possible."

Many inductees are already in the Hall of Fame for related inventions. Marcian "Ted" Hoff, Stanley Mazor, and Federico Faggin were inducted in 1996 for the microprocessor; Robert Dennard was inducted in 1997 for dynamic random access memory; and George Smith and Willard Boyle were inducted in 2006 for the charge-coupled device that makes digital imaging possible.

The 2009 class will be inducted this year on May 2nd at the annual induction ceremony to be held in Mountain View, California.

This year's inductees are an accomplished group:

Martin M. (John) Atalla (1924- ) MOS transistor
Atalla was a Bell Labs inventor who worked with Dawon Kahng to invent the first practical field-effect transistor, the most widely employed type of integrated circuit. He went on to develop the data security system used in most automated banking machines, and as part of this system devised the PIN method of secure identification.

Alfred Y. Cho (1937- ) Molecular beam epitaxy--MBE
Cho achieved molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) at Bell Labs, a process in which materials are layered atop one another with great precision to form devices like transistors, light-emitting diodes, and lasers. The switches in cell phones that carry our conversations are made using MBE, as are most of the lasers used in CD/DVD players and drives.

Ross Freeman (1948-1989) Field programmable gate array--FPGA
Freeman, co-founder of Xilinx, invented the field programmable gate array (FPGA), a computer chip that can be programmed again and again, changing the way that it functions. FPGAs are useful in rapidly changing industries, like local area networking and cell phone networks.

Dov Frohman-Bentchkowsky (1939- ) EPROM
Frohman-Bentchkowsky of Intel and founder of Intel Israel created the electrically programmable read-only memory chip, or EPROM, which could be erased by exposing it to ultraviolet light, then have new data written onto it. Today's electronic devices like cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, and computers all rely on a form of this memory to store their operating systems.

George Heilmeier (1936- ) Liquid crystal display
Heilmeier pioneered the first liquid crystal displays at RCA Laboratories. He went on from RCA to a diverse career, spending time as a White House Fellow, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, and Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He was also Chief Technical Officer for Texas Instruments.

Jean Hoerni (1924-1997) Planar process
A co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and one of the Fairchild Eight, Hoerni invented the planar manufacturing process, the process that is relied upon for the manufacture of today's modern integrated circuits. A consultant to semiconductor firms around the world, Hoerni founded Teledyne's Almeco division, Intersil, and Telmos.

Larry Hornbeck (1943- ) Digital micromirror device--DMD
Hornbeck, of Texas Instruments, holds a series of patents that form the foundation for the DMD, an array of up to two-million hinged microscopic aluminum mirrors on a silicon chip. Under digital control, the tiny mirrors create an image by directing pulses of "digital" light through a projection lens and onto a television, presentation, or movie theater screen.

Dawon Kahng (1931-1992) MOS transistor
Kahng was an inventor, with John Atalla, of the first practical field-effect transistor, a device that controls electronic signals by switching them on or off or amplifying them. Today, the MOSFET is the most widely used type of integrated circuit in the computer and electronics industries. After time at Bell Labs, he founded the NEC Research Institute, which conducts basic science research in computing and communications.

John Macdougall (1940- ), Ken Manchester (1925- ) Ion implantation
Macdougall and Manchester worked together at Sprague Electronics to develop a commercially viable method of ion implantation, a process in which a silicon wafer is bombarded with ionized atoms to change the electrical conductivity of certain areas, called "doping." Ion implantation is the dominant doping method in the production of integrated circuits.

Carver Mead (1934- ) VLSI method for designing chips
Mead, professor emeritus at Caltech, is an inventor, chip designer, entrepreneur, and physicist. He helped to develop the standards and tools that permitted tens of thousands of transistors to be packaged on a single silicon chip, known as very large-scale integration (VLSI). He has founded over 20 companies, including Synaptics and Impinj.

Gordon Moore (1929- ) Semiconductor production
As a cofounder of both Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, Moore set the pace and standards for Silicon Valley's chip manufacturing methods. He is the author of Moore's Law, and his work would establish the model of the computer industry researcher-entrepreneur and help make Intel a world-leading chip maker. He is chairman emeritus of Intel and founder of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Gordon Teal (1907-2003) Silicon transistor
Gordon Teal created the first functioning silicon transistor. By the time he announced his working silicon transistors at a 1954 meeting, his employer Texas Instruments had already begun production, skyrocketing the silicon semiconductor industry to success. Teal served briefly as the first director of the National Bureau of Standards materials research division.

Frank Wanlass (1933- ) Complementary metal oxide semiconductor--CMOS
Wanlass invented the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS), the technology employed in most modern microchips. Because of their low power requirements, CMOS chips are well suited to battery-powered devices: the digital watch was one of the first products to make use of CMOS technology. Wanlass spent time at Fairchild Semiconductor, and was also involved in several start-up ventures including Zytrex and Standard Microsystems.

Robert Widlar (1937-1991) Linear integrated circuits
Widlar designed the first commercially successful analog integrated circuit. These circuits are used to process and amplify signals like sound and radio waves, and they are used in the automotive industry and in communications and consumer electronics devices. Widlar saw success at National Semiconductor and was also a cofounder of Linear Technology Corporation.
Inventors may be nominated by anyone for induction into the Hall of Fame, but they must hold a U.S. patent to be considered. The nominee's invention must have contributed to the welfare of society and have promoted the progress of science and the useful arts. All nominations are reviewed by the Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from national science and technology organizations, and a panel of industry experts.

The not-for-profit National Inventors Hall of Fame 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 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 and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall's headquarters are in Akron, Ohio, from where it administers its national programs, including the Camp Invention® and Club Invention® programs, Invent Now® initiatives, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition®.

Note: For more information, visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame web site at For further questions, please contact Rini Paiva, National Inventors Hall of Fame, at 330.388.6160 or

National Inventors Hall of Fame

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