National Inventors Hall of Fame welcomes 2005 inductees


Inventors of Valium, frozen foods, the electric guitar, genetic fingerprinting and more honored

Washington, D.C. (May 13, 2005) -- Continuing its tradition of honoring invention and innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame welcomes its latest class of inductees.

Receiving the honor for 2005 are the inventors of items such as Valium, the solid-body electric guitar, frozen foods, and the photocopier.

The 2005 group includes six living inventors who represent accomplishments spanning from aviation safety and improved pharmaceuticals to identifying DNA and creating a more efficient office. Each one has created an innovation that has bettered many lives.

Formal induction ceremonies take place on Saturday, May 14th, and living inductees Donald Bateman (aircraft safety devices), Robert Gundlach (modern photocopier), Dean Kamen (AutoSyringe), and Les Paul (solid-body electric guitar) will be in attendance. Alec Jeffreys (genetic fingerprinting) will be represented by Kirk Bloodsworth, the first individual to be exonerated of a capital crime as the result of Jeffreys' work. Representing the 97-year old Leo Sternbach (Valium) will be his son Michael.

The eight deceased inventors receiving the honor have also advanced our society, with inventions as diverse as the creation of the traffic signal to the discovery of plutonium. Deceased inductees will receive additional recognition at a ceremony held on Friday, May 13th. The 2005 honorees are:


  • C. Donald Bateman: Ground Proximity Warning System--GPWS
  • Robert Gundlach: Modern photocopier
  • Alec Jeffreys: Genetic fingerprinting
  • Dean Kamen: AutoSyringe
  • Les Paul: Solid-body electric guitar
  • Leo Sternbach: Valium


  • Matthias Baldwin: Steam locomotive
  • Clarence Birdseye: Frozen foods
  • Leopold Godowsky, Leopold Mannes: Kodachrome color film
  • Garrett Morgan: Gas mask, traffic signal
  • Glenn Seaborg: Plutonium isolation
  • Jacob Rabinow: Optical character recognition
  • Selman Waksman: Streptomycin

In addition to this year's new class of inductees, the National Inventors Hall of Fame also recognizes its Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. This year, the winner is Donald W. Banner, senior partner of the intellectual property law firm Banner & Witcoff, and a passionate advocate for patent law.

This year's Induction ceremony will be broadcast on May 26th at 10pm on PBS Channels 45 & 49 in northeast Ohio.

As part of the Induction weekend events, several past Hall of Fame inductees are traveling to local schools to speak to students and teachers. Dr. Helen Free (self-testing for blood sugar), Dr. Forrest Bird (the respirator), Mrs. Patsy Sherman (ScotchgardTM), Dr. Jim West (the electret microphone), and Dr. Edith Flanigen (molecular sieves) all are visiting with local students.

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. The Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from national science and technology organizations, reviews all nominations.

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 permanent home is Akron, Ohio, where the inventors in the Hall are honored and from where it administers its national programs, including Camp Invention®, Club Invention®, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition®.

Note: For more information, including image access, visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame web site at for downloads. For further questions, including inventor interview inquiries, please contact Rini Paiva, National Inventors Hall of Fame, at 330-388-6160 or [email protected].

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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