2002 Award Winners
Hall of Fame
Isaac S. "Ike" Blonder and Ben H. Tongue
Ike Blonder and Ben Tongue are innovative television equipment pioneers whose names have been part of the electronics lexicon for half a century. Once engineers for an electronic equipment manufacturer, they joined forces in 1950 to design and produce a comprehensive line of electronics and systems equipment, later focusing on the franchised and private-cable television industries. They gained prominence in television's early days when they answered the need to improve fringe-area reception to homes by introducing the first commercially successful, fixed-tuned broadband booster amplifier.
Tongue's patented fixed-tuned circuit utilized four vacuum tubes in an amplifier that provided 17 decibels of low-noise amplification over the entire 76-MHz Very High Frequency band, more than any other booster amplifier then in production. Blonder invented an inexpensive thermal relay that connected the booster to the television so both could be controlled from the same power source, an unusual convenience for the time.
The inventor-entrepreneurs later expanded their business to design products for master antenna systems for schools and hotels and to invent Ultra-High Frequency converters, outdoor home antennas, microwave products, satellite receivers, test equipment, signal-distribution products, and a host of other inventions that earned 39 patents for Blonder and 34 for Tongue. They even launched their own UHF television stations. WBTB of Newark became the nation's first successful subscription television outlet and Paterson's WXTV was the first successful Spanish-speaking station in the 50 states.
Over the years, Blonder Tongue Laboratories, Inc. employed thousands in several locations, including Newark and Westfield, before taking root in Old Bridge where it continues to operate. Blonder, who earned a master's degree in physics from Cornell University, and Tongue, who holds a master's in electrical engineering from Polytechnic University, sold their stakes in 1989. Semi-retired, each remains active in the electronics field.
The seminal research of Herwig Kogelnik in lasers and optoelectronics provides much of the foundation for today's optical telecommunications systems. As theorist and administrator at AT&T and Bell Laboratories since 1961, he became a major catalyst for scientific understanding of lasers, holographic data storage, and multichannel optical networks that make the Internet possible. His distributed feedback (DFB) lasers were considered important when developed, but now they are recognized as essential pathways of modern optical communications.
Before DFB lasers, light-pulse signals overlapped and degraded during long-distance transmission because of fiber dispersion and uncontrolled laser spectrum. The interference was overcome in the 1970s when Kogelnik and collaborator Charles Shank designed DFB lasers that provide spectral control with single, dedicated wavelengths. This feature proved pivotal in expanding underground fiber capacity, particularly when wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) was introduced in 1995. As director of Bell Labs' Photonics Research Laboratory, the laser pioneer led development of WDM, a technology that today allows as many as 160 channels to traverse a DFB laser.
Without WDM and DFB, huge demand for data capacity in communications networks might have so far outrun supply that the Internet could have ground to a halt. Other Kogelnik contributions include thin-film waveguides, optical cross-connects, and coupled wave theory - formulas that gave optics researchers vital mathematical tools for improving data storage in holograms.
Retired from administrative work since 1997, the holder of more than 40 patents has turned exclusively to photonics research, especially an old passion - getting WDM systems to work at higher capacities. Born in Austria, he holds a doctor of technology degree from the Vienna University of Technology and a D.Phil. degree in physics from Oxford University. In 2001, Kogelnik received the IEEE Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
John Augustus Roebling (1806-69)
A 19th century pioneer in suspension bridge construction, John Augustus Roebling is best remembered for designing the Brooklyn Bridge, although all his successes were literally tied to his invention of twisted wire rope. With improvements, this cable is still used in industries ranging from shipping and railroads to elevators, cable cars and airplanes.
Formally trained as a civil engineer in his native Prussia, Roebling began developing his cable to replace less sturdy hemp hawsers used to haul canal boats up inclined railways. In 1842, he received his first patent for a method of spinning the wire while maintaining tension on all strands. But as revealed in his college thesis, his dream was to build suspension bridges, an infant technology that drew withering criticism from established civil engineers.
By 1848, Roebling had silenced his critics by using his cable to build several suspension bridges, mostly in Pennsylvania. In 1855, he drew their admiration by constructing a two-level, 825-foot span over the Niagara River for both rail cars and road vehicles.
In the same year, he invented the vertical rope-spinning machine with variable lag, a product that revolutionized bridge building and attracted nearly all the world's wire rope market. In later years, the machine would enable engineers to strand telegraph wire and wire supports for power shovels and airplanes, as well as design lighter, stronger elevators, cable cars, and suspension bridges.
The machine cleared the path for constructing the world's longest suspension bridge - the 1,595-foot Brooklyn Bridge. But after designing the East River span, the nation's greatest bridge builder was fatally injured on the job in 1869. Roebling's son, Washington, completed the project in 1883. Today, the Roebling legacy spans the world - from huge suspension bridges like the Golden Gate to the cabled power shovels that dug the Panama Canal.
Anthony E. Winston
From tooth pastes and deodorizers to laundry detergents and fungicides, Anthony Winston has invented an enormous variety of hygiene, cosmetics and pollution-control products that have improved the lives of millions. In a three-decade career, the research chemist has earned 95 patents, most of them for necessities found in most modern households.
Winston's research into the cleaning properties of baking soda alone has earned him 13 dental patents. He developed pastes, powders, gels and tartar-control agents that have proven exceptionally effective in plaque removal and tooth whitening. These extremely low-abrasive treatments have also shown some surprising anti-microbial effects and potential for gingivitis control.
More recently, Winston developed a technology for strengthening tooth enamel, preventing cavities, alleviating sensitivity and repairing acid-damaged teeth through an application called remineralization. Under his 15-patent process, a combination of calcium and ions of phosphate and fluoride are applied to the teeth through pastes, chewing gums and mouth rinses to replenish needed minerals.
The inventor's crop-protection products, which account for 21 patents, use bicarbonates to kill pathogenic fungi. Unlike other conventional fungicides, many of which are carcinogenic, his have proven environmentally safe, and the fungi have been unable to build resistance to them. Winston also has developed an aerosol, bicarbonate-salt-based deodorizer, an ear wax removal aid, environmentally safe metal cleaners, water treatment technologies, and laundry detergents and additives.
A research fellow for Church & Dwight, the parent company of Arm & Hammer, he has invented most of his products for this brand. A native of England, Winston joined the company in 1970 after receiving an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Nottingham University and conducting research for British and Israeli manufacturers. The author of several technical papers, the inventor co-authored the 1996 book, Handbook of Aqueous Cleaning Technology for Electronic Assemblies.
Inventor of The Year
Valerie A. Bell
The Molecular Gate Effect discovered by Valerie Bell and three other research chemists at Engelhard has drawn worldwide attention mainly for its potential to stretch the world energy supply by allowing once-unusable natural gas to be purified at minimal cost. But the nature of this chemical phenomenon is so fundamental that it is also being applied in other fields, such as ambulatory medical care.
This rare discovery marks a breakthrough in the development of adsorbents used for separating and removing contaminants while improving performance of chemical products and industrial processes. The Molecular Gate Effect represents the ability to control the pores of specific crystals precisely so molecules of nearly identical size may be separated and purified. This control offers broad flexibility in manipulating the molecular sieves at the core of many important industrial separation processes.
Although commercial development remains embryonic, the Molecular Gate Effect is already beginning to make an impact on a dwindling energy supply. A $1.2 million demonstration is now using the process to deliver 200,000 cubic feet per hour of off-grade natural gas to an interstate pipeline in Colorado. In the health-care field, the invention is being used to develop new adsorbents for processes that split the constituents of air for generating medical oxygen. This oxygen technology is being developed commercially under a $4.5 million program jointly funded by Engelhard and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
This patent is the inventor's third, although she is awaiting approval for 12 others, ranging from detergent additives to additional Molecular Gate applications. Bell received her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1983 from the University of Delaware. As a research associate, she is the highest-ranking female scientist on Engelhard's 600-member technical staff.
Recognizing that any lengthy disruptions in its huge fiber-optic network would be intolerable, AT&T needed a way to ensure that telecommunications could be restored quickly, under almost any circumstances. The company got that assurance from Hossein Eslambolchi, who revolutionized the network's design and architecture by leading the team that invented FASTAR - Fast Automated Restoration System - which can restore facilities in seconds.
Forty of his patents, including FASTAR, are for devices that recognize the potential for disruption, such as a cable cut, and initiate preventive measures. In the event of failure, these systems can begin self-healing and rerouting traffic within moments, usually before customers know anything is wrong. One of Eslambolchi's inventions radically improved the accuracy of locating underground cables. Another - the cable sheath removal tool - upgraded the method for restoring damaged cables.
The combined system offered seamless protection, reduced network operating expenses by $1 billion, and sharply improved reliability over a three-year period.
Now AT&T's chief technology officer and president of AT&T Labs, Eslambolchi, who joined the utility in 1989, is a prolific inventor who holds 89 patents in various telecommunications fields, including Internet protocol and data networking, software, speech and network management, security and reliability. In October 1999, he received the company's highest technical honor when he was appointed an AT&T Fellow. In 1997, he received both the New Jersey Thomas Alva Edison Award and the AT&T Lab Science and Technology Medal.
An honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa, Eslambochi graduated with highest honors from the University of California, San Diego, with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering and a B.A. in mathematics. He received both his master's and doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of California, San Diego.
For a century, analog telephone lines allowed for little more than speech transmission. But by the early 1990s, transformation to digital technology was underway, and few in the telecommunications industry foresaw its impact as well as Irwin Gerszberg. By the end of the decade, colleagues would call him "Mr. DSL" for his leadership in the Digital Subscriber Line field, a broadband technology that uses telephone lines and digital coding to create a connection to the Internet from a computer.
Gerszberg recognized from the outset that DSL would become the link of choice for consumers who wanted vast amounts of digital data from the Internet at extremely high speeds. Through various positions at AT&T and Bell Laboratories, he helped establish network architectures that brought high-speed broadband technology into homes and businesses. This capability allowed for multiple voice lines and feature-rich applications and devices, many of which he also created. His inventions, for example, permit customers to easily perform multiple-line voice and data installations and integrate their communications devices with wireless technology.
So far, "Mr. DSL" holds 65 U.S. patents, and has applied for others to extend virtually all forms of local access technology even further. These contributions earned him AT&T's Science and Technology Medal last year, capping a career at the AT&T Bell System that began in 1978. Today, he is division manager of the Advanced Local Network Access Technology Organization for AT&T Local Services.
Gerszberg holds a bachelor's degree in engineering from NJIT and a master's in computer science from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is a member of the New Jersey Technology Council, Association of Public-Safety Communication Officials, Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Antoni S. Gozdz, Jean-Marie Tarascon and Paul C. Warren
Jean-Marie Tarascon, Antoni Gozdz and Paul Warren collaborated to develop long-lasting, lightweight, flexible, rechargeable lithium ion batteries just as the need to power portable cell phones and laptop computers became apparent. Their body of inventions launched a new paradigm in battery manufacturing.
The invention of the manganese spinel-based lithium ion battery, announced by Telcordia - then Bellcore - in 1992, marked an enormous improvement in energy storage. Invented by Tarascon, one of the world's foremost solid state chemists, the rechargeable battery could hold more power than any other, yet it had none of the environmental problems posed by products based on lead-acid or nickel-cadmium chemistry. But this early version contained liquid electrolyte, the electric conductor that sometimes leaked and damaged equipment. These batteries lacked flexibility because they had to be securely encased in metal containers.
Tarascon asked Warren, a chemist experienced in plasticized materials, to find what battery researchers had only dreamt about - a suitable plastic to replace the metal. Since other industries commonly entrap liquids in plasticized, polymeric matrices, they were sure that a similar technique could be applied to the components of the lithium ion battery. Gozdz, a polymer expert, was enlisted to find polymeric materials that could enclose the components and to design a practical way to utilize the new system.
During an 18-month research collaboration, the team changed the way rechargeable batteries would be made. They designed a highly flexible, leak-resistant product that can be as thin as a credit card. The new battery consists of five to 11 operating layers encased in a metalized plastic bag to seal the contents. Because the manufacturing process involves fusing the layers together with heat and pressure, the batteries can be made relatively simply and inexpensively. Since they are thin and flexible, their shape can easily be altered, making them ideal for portable power sources. When many larger cells are connected, they are powerful enough to run electrical vehicles, scooters and backup power systems.
Their groundbreaking work garnered the three researchers several industry honors: Bellcore's President Award (1994), R&D 100 Award (1994), Popular Mechanics Design and Engineering Award (1995), Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award in Energy Innovation (2001), and Telcordia's CEO Award (2001).
Born in France, Tarascon received his Ph.D. degree in solid state chemistry from the University of Bordeaux and later studied at Cornell University. He joined Bellcore in 1984 and served as director of its energy storage group from 1989 until 1995 when he returned to France to direct the solid state chemistry laboratory at Jules Verne University. Tarascon is the author of 302 publications and has received 45 patents. He became a Bellcore Fellow in 1994.
A native of Poland, Gozdz received his Ph.D. in polymer chemistry in 1976 from the Technical University of Wroclaw where he was a polymer and plastics researcher. Gozdz joined Bellcore in 1984 after three years at TRI in Princeton, and is now Bellcore's chief scientist in the energy research storage group. He has received 17 patents, 15 of them in the lithium ion battery field and he is co-author of more than 100 scientific presentations and papers.
A graduate of Wesleyan University, Warren earned a Ph.D. degree in physical organic chemistry in 1968. The New Jersey native was a researcher and research supervisor for Bell Laboratories for 15 years before moving to Bellcore in 1984. In 1995, he became supervisor of the battery research group where he earned 15 patents. Warren retired in 1998.
As a Navy corpsman in Vietnam, Dave Hammond learned firsthand that inexperienced corpsmen seldom survived long under battlefield stress, leaving the wounded to medically untrained GIs. Soon he realized that stress crippled stateside emergency care, too, because untrained civilians were nearly useless when faced with medical emergencies. Training didn't always help either, he discovered, because students quickly forgot the first aid they learned in class.
The issue holds major importance because unintentional injuries kill more Americans between the ages of one and 44 than any other cause, although less than five percent of U.S. households are equipped with first aid kits. After 12 years in the Navy, Hammond vowed to use his experience as a corpsman and emergency medical trainer to reverse this trend.
During a two-decade crusade, he created intelligent first-aid kits that almost anyone can use - even under enormous stress. Borrowing techniques used in computer graphics and film making, he designed kits coded with colors and icons to guide caregivers in nearly every emergency. Individual packs contain supplies and color-coded picture cards resembling storyboards that provide easy-to-follow instructions for each specific injury - from breathing problems to bleeding.
After testing his system on oil rigs, Hammond's firm, DLH, Inc., began marketing it to industry. Patent approval followed, as did endorsements by the American Red Cross and the National Safety Commission, which writes the kit's instructions. Kits are now used by major organizations including Hertz, Marriott, CBS, Disney and the U.S. Postal Service. Product lines cover specific industries, and consumer marketing is now under way. A line for pets is under design.
Hammond holds a master's degree in education from George Washington University. He is the author of the 1974 book, A Guide to Medical Care in Isolated Environments.