INVENTOR SPOTLIGHT 2022
As intellectual property attorneys, we understand the ingenuity, persistence, and courage it takes for inventions to see the light of day. In this monthly inventor spotlight, Carlson Caspers’ Diversity & Inclusion Committee celebrates the accomplishments of an inventor who has made an impact on our world.
AUGUST – INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE (AUGUST 9)
In honor of International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, Carlson Caspers celebrates Aaron Yazzie, a Mechanical Engineer who was most notably a key member on the recent Mars rover missions.
Aaron Yazzie, Diné, earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. As a Mechanical Engineer with a focus on Planetary Sample Acquisition and Handling at NASA, Yazzie designs mechanisms for acquiring geological samples from other planets. He most notably was a key member on the recent Mars rover missions.
His Navajo heritage provides a significant background furthering indigenous equity and inclusion in STEM with his contributions to the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Unlike some of our previous inventors, however, he is quite young and “up-and-coming.”
(1981 – )
JULY – NATIONAL DISABILITY INDEPENDENCE DAY
In honor of National Disability Independence Day, commemorating the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Carlson Caspers celebrates Dutch Designer Christian Boer’s contributions to helping increase accessibility for individuals with dyslexia.
While studying for his graduate thesis at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, he developed Dyslexie, a typeface (font) that improves reading accessibility for individuals with dyslexia.
Alan Mathison Turing
(6/23/1912 – 6/7/1954)
JUNE – LGBT PRIDE MONTH
In honor of LGBT Pride month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Alan Mathison Turing.
Turing was one of the most important scientists of the twentieth century and made significant contributions to the fields of mathematics, computer science, and artificial intelligence.
Dr. Margaret M. Wu
MAY – ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the extraordinary achievements of industrial chemist Dr. Margaret M. Wu.
Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Dr. Margaret M. Wu, Senior Scientific Advisor (Retired), ExxonMobil, and revolutionary industrial chemist for her breakthrough research in designing and synthesizing lubricants for industrial and automobile use.
A prolific inventor, Dr. Wu is the first woman from ExxonMobil to be inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame® this year.
Dr. Wu holds more than 100 patents for her pioneering inventions. She epitomizes the inventive spirit – “[I]f my work taught me anything, it’s that there’s always something new to discover.”
APRIL – HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY (YOM HA SHOAH)
In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), Carlson Caspers celebrates the extraordinary achievements of inventor Leo Szilard.
Szilard is best known for his contributions to the Manhattan Project. His contributions and interests ranged from particle accelerators to biochemical reactors and electron microscopes. His best-known patent, on which he was co-inventor with Albert Einstein, covered a refrigerator with no moving parts. Many consider Leo Szilard one of history’s brightest physicists, yet he never won the Nobel Prize.
Dr. Mary-Claire King
MARCH – NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
In honor of National Women’s History Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of geneticist and humanitarian Dr. Mary-Claire King.
This Women’s History Month, we celebrate Mary-Claire King, the first person to show that breast cancer can be inherited by genetic mutations. Dr. King’s decades of dedication to breast cancer research, humanitarian work, and education are nothing less than heroic.
Garrett Augustus Morgan
FEBRUARY – BLACK HISTORY MONTH
In honor of Black History Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor Garrett A. Morgan.
Morgan, born to two freed slaves, was a prolific inventor best known for creating the automated, three-signal traffic light. A self-made businessman in the apparel and grooming industries, his inventions focused on enhancing the safety of the average worker and citizen. Over the course of his life, his inventions earned him 26 patents.
Dr. Fred Begay
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER – NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
How Dr. Fred Begay, as a nuclear physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, worked on research focused on thermonuclear fusion, including the use of lasers, electrons, and high-energy ion beams to heat plasmas to use as alternative energy sources.
During his long career, Dr. Begay received the American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s Ely Parker Award in 1992, the National Science Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science in 1999.
Dr. K.P. Subbalakshmi
OCTOBER – WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
How Dr. K.P. “Suba” Subbalakshmi, devised an inexpensive, unobtrusive AI-based tool to monitor speech for identifying markers for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and aphasia for early detection and treatments.
In honor of World Mental Health Day, an international day to raise awareness of mental health issues worldwide and mobilize efforts in support of mental health, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Dr. K.P. “Suba” Subbalakshmi. Her research in artificial intelligence and machine learning focuses on mental health. She devised an inexpensive, unobtrusive AI-based tool to monitor speech in a natural real-world setting to identify dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and aphasia markers.
SEPTEMBER – CELEBRATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF HISPANIC AMERICAN INVENTORS AND SCIENTISTS
How the achievements of Hispanic American inventors and scientists introduced several “career firsts” and led to advancements in science, engineering, healthcare, and more.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Dr. Ellen Ochoa, best known as a trailblazing astronaut, engineer, inventor, and advisor to Congress and the President.
- In 1993, Dr. Ochoa became the first Hispanic female astronaut and, in 2013, the first Hispanic Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
- We also honor the contributions of Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, the third Mexican American woman to receive a doctorate in the sciences in the United States in 1975.
- We honor the contributions of Olga D. González-Sanabria, an inventor and director at NASA’s Glenn Research Center’s Plans and Programs Office.
- We honor the contributions of Elena T. Medo, a serial entrepreneur and prolific inventor, with 25 U.S. Patents to her name.
AUGUST – CELEBRATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF NATIVE AMERICAN INVENTORS AND SCIENTISTS
How the achievements of Native American inventors and scientists have contributed to our lives.
This month, Caspers celebrates the contemporary achievements of inventors and scientists who are Native American. We also recognize that many inventions were created by Native Americans before settlers came (and the establishment of the USPTO), such as the hammock, aspirin, and chocolate.
(1940 – 2013 )
JULY – NATIONAL DISABILITY INDEPENDENCE DAY
How Ralph Braun’s disability led him to develop the World’s first motorized scooter
In honor of National Disability Independence Day, which commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor Ralph Braun. Mr. Braun was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at a young age. His designs for motorized scooters, wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and wheelchair lifts facilitate the mobility and independence of people with disabilities. He developed his technologies into a business that became a worldwide leader of wheelchair-accessible vehicles and lifts.
Lynn Conway, M.S.E.E.
JUNE – PRIDE MONTH
How Lynn Ann Conway’s inventions and publications brought advancements in computer science and microelectronics.
In honor of Pride Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Lynn Ann Conway, an American computer scientist, electrical engineer, inventor, and transgender activist. Conway’s invention of generalized dynamic instruction handling using out-of-order execution improves the performance of superscalar computer processors. Her revolutionary work on silicon chip design triggered a flurry of university research and high-tech startups in the 80s and 90s. She is a named inventor on five U.S. patents. As a woman who has experienced a transgender transition, she is an activist for transgender rights.
Sumita Mitra, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Partner at Mitra Chemical Consulting, LLC
MAY – ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH
How Dr. Sumita Mitra’s inventions brought several breakthroughs in dental technologies creating new smiles for millions.
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor Dr. Sumita Mitra. She is best known for inventing the non-composite dental filling Filtek™ Supreme Restorative, which is a material that has been used in over 600 million dental implant procedures. Her discoveries have led to several innovative dental technologies, including nanocomposites, resin-modified glass ionomers, and dental adhesives.
Heinz Joseph Gerber
Image Courtesy: Smithsonian
APRIL – HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY (Yom HaShoah)
How Joseph Gerber, Holocaust Survivor, became an Automation Pioneer
In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor Joseph Gerber. Gerber is best known for developments in engineering design and manufacturing for several different industries. Many consider him the “Thomas Edison of manufacturing” as a pioneer in automation development in skill-intensive industries. He was the named inventor on more than 600 U.S. patents.
Stephanie Kwolek (1923-2014)
Photo by Michael Branscom
MARCH – WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
How Ms. Kwolek discovered Kevlar®
In honor of Women’s History month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor and chemist Stephanie Kwolek. Kwolek is best known for inventing Kevlar®, a synthetic fiber of exceptional strength and stiffness. She is a named inventor on over 15 United States patents relating to her work as a chemist at DuPont.
Dr. Patricia Bath (1942-2019)
FEBRUARY – BLACK HISTORY MONTH
How Dr. Patricia Bath Changed the World of Sight
In honor of Black History month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor Dr. Patricia Bath in the field of ophthalmology. Dr. Bath held five United States patents directed toward methods and a device using ultrasound and laser energy to remove cataracts. The United States Patent Office has recognized her technology as “help[ing] restore or improve vision to millions of patients worldwide, making it one of the most important developments in the field of ophthalmology.”
To learn more about Carlson Caspers’ commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, click here.
To apply for the Carlson Caspers Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship and meet past recipients, click here.
To learn about Carlson Caspers’ engagements with organizations committed to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, click here.
To learn about other featured inventors, click here.