INVENTOR SPOTLIGHT 2021

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.

Dr. Fred Begay
(1923-2013)

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.

Learn more here.

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.

Learn more here.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa
(b. 5/10/1958)
Photo Credit: NASA

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.

Learn more here.

Native American Inventors - Carlson Caspers

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.

Learn more here.

Ralph Braun
(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.

Learn more here.

Lynn Conway, M.S.E.E.
(1938-)

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.

Learn more here.

Sumita Mitra, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Partner at Mitra Chemical Consulting, LLC
(1927-)

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.

Learn more here.

Heinz Joseph Gerber
(1924-1996)

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.

Learn more here.

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.

Learn more here.

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.”

Learn more here.

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.