• 1936 May 22
    (b.) -
    2014 April 21


An American engineer and businessman, he was a pioneering contributor to liquid crystal displays and is inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame; credited with the invention of LC-Display. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and his M.S.E., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Solid State Materials and Electronics from Princeton University. In 1958 he joined RCA Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey, where he worked on parametric amplification, tunnel diode down-converters, millimeter wave generation, ferroelectric thin film devices, organic semiconductors and electro-optic effects in molecular and liquid crystals. In 1964 he discovered several new electro-optic effects in liquid crystals, which led to the first working liquid crystal displays based on what he called the dynamic scattering mode (DSM). He spent much of the 1970s in the United States Department of Defense. From 1970-71 he served as a White House Fellow and special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, performing long-range research and development planning. In 1971 he was appointed Assistant Director for Defense Research and Engineering, Electronic and Physical Sciences, overseeing all research and exploratory development in electronics and the physical sciences. In 1975 he was named Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and initiated major efforts in stealth aircraft, space-based lasers, space-based infrared technology, and artificial intelligence. In December 1977 he left government to become Vice President at Texas Instruments; in 1983 he was promoted to Chief Technical Officer. From 1991-1996 he was President and CEO of Bellcore (now Telcordia), ultimately overseeing its sale to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). He served as the company's Chairman and CEO from 1996-1997, and afterwards as its Chairman Emeritus. He has received numerous awards, holds 15 patents, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Defense Science Board, and the National Security Agency Advisory Board. He serves on the board of trustees of Fidelity Investments and of Teletech Holdings, and the Board of Overseers of the School of Engineering and Applied Science of the University of Pennsylvania. A set of questions credited to him that anyone proposing a research project or product development effort should be able to answer: (1) What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon. (2) How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice? (3) What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful? (4) Who cares? (5) If you're successful, what difference will it make? (6) What are the risks and the payoffs? (7) How much will it cost? (8) How long will it take? And (9) What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success? Among the numerous awards with which he has been presented are: 1976 IEEE David Sarnoff Award, IEEE; 1991 National Medal of Science, USA; 1997 IEEE Medal of Honor, IEEE; 2005 Kyoto Prize in advanced technology, Inamori Foundation; and 2012 Charles Stark Draper Prize, National Academy of Engineering. Among publications he has authored or co-authored are: 1966 "Possible Ferroelectric Effects in Liquid Crystals and Related Liquids" (with R. Williams), Journal of Chemical Physics, 44: 638; 1968 "Dynamic Scattering: A New Electrooptic Effect in Certain Classes of Nematic Liquid Crystals" (with L. A. Zanoni), Proceedings of the IEEE, 56: 1162; 1970 "Liquid Crystal Display Devices", Scientific American, 222: 100; and 1976 "Liquid Crystal Displays: An Experiment in Interdisciplinary Research that Worked", IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, ED-23: 780.
  • Date of Birth:

    1936 May 22
  • Date of Death:

    2014 April 21
  • Gender:

  • Noted For:

    Pioneering contributor to liquid crystal displays and the inventor of LC-Display
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