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Old 02-08-2007, 04:16 PM   #1
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Default Automotive air bag inventor, others to be honored today on Capitol Hill

Automotive air bag inventor, others to be honored today on Capitol Hill


WASHINGTON -- Inventors of the automotive air bag, the MRI, the Ethernet, the LP record and a popular weedkiller are among 18 people picked for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The 2007 class of inductees was to be announced at an event today on Capitol Hill. The honorees are joining luminaries such as Thomas Edison, Velcro inventor George de Mestral and Charles Goodyear, developer of vulcanized rubber.

"Some of these inventors ... have literally changed the way we live our lives," said Rini Paiva, spokeswoman for the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. But, she added, "they are not household names."

Among the latest inductees and their inventions are:

The late Allen K. Breed for the automotive air bag. The company he founded, Breed Technologies, is now known Key Safety Systems, Inc., and has its corporate headquarters in Sterling Heights.

Paul C. Lauterbur, for the MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging.

Robert M. Metcalfe, for high-speed networking known as Ethernet.

The late Peter C. Goldmark, for the long-playing record.

John E. Franz, for the herbicide Roundup.

The Akron, Ohio, hall was founded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations. It has inducted members since 1973 and will honored 331 inventors with the new class.

The hall once was at the Patent Office in Washington, moved to Akron and reopened in 1995.

Metcalfe recalls the early days of working on the Ethernet project at Xerox Corp.'s research center in Palo Alto, Calif. "We had no idea in 1973 that is would get that big," he said. "We were just computer guys building our own tools."

Paul Baran was selected this year for developing a decentralized way of networking digital communication, called digital packet switching.

"I think that we give a lot of attention to music and football, why not those who come up with ideas that we use in a different way," said Baran, whose research was conducted while at Rand Corp.

The new inductees include seven living and 11 deceased inventors. The induction ceremony will take place in May in Akron.

New inductees to National Inventors Hall of Fame

The rest of the 2007 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame:

Paul Baran for digital packet switching.
Emett W. Chappelle for bioluminescence techniques.
Leroy E. Hood for a DNA sequencer.
Peter Mansfield for magnetic resonance imaging.
The following are being inducted posthumously:
David W. Cushman and Miguel A. Ondetti for the drug Captopril.
Donald W. Davies for digital packet switching.
William A. Goddard and John J. Lynott for the magnetic disk drive.
Maurice R. Hilleman for a number of vaccines.
Godfrey N. Hounsfield for the CAT scan.
Arthur Nobile for the steroid drug prednisone.
Otto Wichterle for the soft contact lens.

On the Net
National Inventors Hall of Fame: http://www.invent.org
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