Many eyes are focused this week-end on the heroics of some very skilled ball players in Indianapolis. The deciding dunk or the dagger in the heart three pointer will raise our hopes or agonize our spirits.
Well far from the frenzy of this scene, a nearly unreported event took place that recognizes a different set of game changers that will affect your life on a daily basis.
No it is not the US congress thank goodness! It was the induction of sixteen (16) new members of the National Inventors Hall Of Fame. This hall of fame honors men and women who made great technological advances that make our lives better. There are 421 members in this hall, folks such as Thomas Edison and Gertrude Belle Elion (want you to do some homework and see what she invented).
The inventor must hold a U.S. patent, and the invention must have contributed to the welfare of mankind and have promoted the progress of science and the useful arts. A National Selection Committee consisting of representatives from various scientific, industry and professional groups along with a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts select the inductees.
There is one inductees of 2010 to whom I am particularly indebted. He is Dr. W. Lincoln Hawkins. In 1942, he was the first African-American scientist hired by Bell Labs.
Dr. Hawkins invented a process to make plastic sheathing to protect communications cables. Prior to his work polymers designed to protect cable were ineffective and deteriorated rapidly, especially in sunlight. The Bell Labs team developed a unique formulation of additives to polyethylene which was able to survive in direct sunlight and other harsh environmental conditions for seventy years, or more. Their sheathing is still used worldwide today to protect both fiber optic and electrical communications cable.
Dr. Hawkins was devoted to improving education and employment opportunities for minorities interested in pursuing careers in engineering and science, helping to establish the Bell Labs Summer Research Program for Minorities and Women. Because of his untiring efforts, I was privileged to become a member of the technical staff of the vaunted innovation institution, Bell Labs.
Today, my work portfolio includes the issuance of patents as a patent examiner at the US Patent and Trademark office. This is great work as you get to see innovations that will be game changer in the near future.
The media gives little coverage to these folks who provide the pistons to tomorrow jobs. This is ironic as we will need to multiply the number of innovators if we want to maintain our quality of living. I was not trying to hype the importance of this type of work.
We need our kids to have intellectual heroes, studs not wimps who can capture their imagination and fully explore the fullness of their brain power.
Here is a website I highly recommend you explore.
You may just contribute to a future invention that is a world changer!