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July 9, 2007
Stanford Ovshinsky to Receive Sigma Xi's 2007 Chubb Award
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - One of America's most prolific inventors, Stanford R. Ovshinsky of Rochester Hills, Mich., has been compared to such icons as Thomas Edison. A self-taught engineer and physicist who holds hundreds of patents, Ovshinsky is the co-founder of a company called Energy Conversion Devices (ECD Ovonics).
His discoveries over a long and fruitful career have led to inventions that are revolutionizing everything from batteries and hydrogen storage to solar cells and computer memory.
Ovshinsky will receive Sigma Xi's 2007 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation at the Society's Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference, set for November 1-4 in Orlando, Fla.
The annual award is designed to honor and promote creativity among scientists and engineers. This is only the second time it has been presented.
Ovshinsky and his late wife, Iris, founded ECD in 1960 to continue his work in the field of amorphous and disordered materials, which he originated in 1955, with the goal of "using creative science to solve societal problems."
His invention of amorphous semiconductor materials gave rise to a whole new segment of material engineering, aiding in the construction of semiconductors, solar energy and electric cars. These materials are used in computers, photocopiers, fax machines and LCD displays.
His fundamental and basic contributions established the field, resulting in transforming the old approaches to glasses to one yielding unexpected new physical, chemical and electronic mechanisms of great scientific and industrial importance.
His work has become the enabling technology in four major areas: energy generation, including thin-film, triple-junction photovoltaics and regenerative non-noble metal fuel cells; energy storage, including Ovonic nickel metal hydride consumer and electric and hybrid vehicle batteries and solid hydrogen storage; information systems, including amorphous semiconductors, switching and phase-change memories, both optical and electrical; and atomically designed synthetic materials for a wide variety of uses, including non-noble metal catalysts replacing platinum and palladium.
He is currently working on hydrogen storage devices that could lead to a new generation of environmentally friendly batteries.
Ovshinsky has more than 300 U.S. patents and is the author of more than 275 scientific papers ranging from neurophysiology to amorphous semiconductors. His many awards include the Diesel Gold Medal for Invention from the German Inventors Association, the Coors American Ingenuity Award, the Toyota Award for Advancement and the American Solar Energy Society Hoyt Clarke Hottel Award. He was named a "Hero for the Planet" by Time magazine in 1999.
He and Iris were named Heroes of Chemistry 2000 by the American Chemical Society for "advances in electrochemical, energy storage and energy generation..." and for having "made significant and lasting contributions to global human welfare." He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also received the 2005 Innovation Award for Energy and the Environment from The Economist.