President Shirley Ann Jackson, recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Science, will lead a panel discussion with three alumni who are recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at an event to be held during Reunion weekend in October. Titled “Creative Connections, Transformative Innovations,” the symposium will include B. Jayant Baliga, Ph.D. ’74, inventor of power electronics devices, Marcian “Ted” Hoff ’58, inventor of the microprocessor, and Steven J. Sasson ’72, inventor of the digital camera.
The National Medal Laureates Symposium will take place immediately following the President’s State of the Institute Address on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 9:30 a.m. in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Theater. The address and symposium are among the signature events of Reunion & Homecoming Weekend.
Jayant Baliga ’74, who earned his master’s and doctorate in electrical engineering at Rensselaer, received the 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation for development and commercialization of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor and other power semiconductor devices that are extensively used in transportation, lighting, medicine, defense, and renewable energy generation systems.
Marcian E. “Ted” Hoff ’58, along with Stanley Mazor and Federico Faggin, received the 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation for the conception, design, development, and application of the first microcomputer. The subsequent commercial acceptance of this universal building block enabled a multitude of novel digital electronic systems, from traffic lights and countless small appliances and electronics, to automobiles.
Steven J. Sasson ’72, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Rensselaer, received the 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation for the invention of the digital camera, which has revolutionized the way images are captured, stored and shared, thereby creating new opportunities for commerce, education, and improved worldwide communication.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation, first awarded in 1985, is the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement, bestowed by the president of the United States on individuals who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life through technological innovation. The National Medal of Science, created in 1959, honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or behavioral or social sciences, in service to the nation.
Baliga, Hoff, and Sasson, who all received their medals from President Barack Obama, are the three living graduates among the 10 Rensselaer alumni who have received national medals of technology or science. Those who received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation include Chauncey Starr ’32, W. Lincoln Hawkins ’32, and H. Joseph Gerber ’47. Those who received the National Medal of Science include Ralph B. Peck ’34, George M. Low ’48, Hermann A. Haus ’51, and Don L. Anderson ’55. All of these national medalists are members of the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame.