INVENTOR SPOTLIGHT 2023

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.

Patricia Cowings
(1948 – )

FEBRUARY – BLACK HISTORY MONTH

In honor of Black History Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor Patricia Cowings.

Patricia Cowings is an aerospace psychophysiologist and was the first woman scientist to be trained by NASA as an astronautAlthough she never made it to space herself, her work focused on the psychological and biological problems experienced in space travel and helped astronauts learn to better adapt to the space environment. 

Learn more here.

Jerry C. Elliot – High Eagle

Jerry C. Elliot – High Eagle
(1943 – )

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER – NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

November 2023:  In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Former NASA physicist Jerry C. Elliot – High Eagle.

Elliot was one of the first Native American scientists at NASA and began his career at NASA’s  Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas where he worked on the Gemini program.   He later worked on the Apollo program developing flight plans for the first lunar landing in Apollo 11.

Learn more here.

Aaron Beck - Inventor Spotlight - Carlson Caspers

Aaron Beck
(1921 – 2021)

OCTOBER 10, 2023 – WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY

“World Mental Health Day 2023 is an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right” to improve knowledge, raise awareness and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.”

Quote from World Health Organization

Learn more here.

Sylvia Acevedo Spotlight - Carlson Caspers

Sylvia Acevedo
(1956 -)

SEPTEMBER—HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month Carlson Caspers celebrates the inspiration and advocacy of Sylvia Acevedo, Rocket Scientist | Board Member | Tech Executive | Entrepreneur | Speaker | Author. 

Learn more here.

Bertha Parker Pallan Cody Spotlight - Carlson Caspers

Bertha Parker Pallan Cody
(1907 – 1978)

AUGUST – INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE (AUGUST 9)

Celebrating Indigenous People Day, Carlson Caspers recognizes and honors the accomplishments of Bertha Parker Pallan Cody, also known as Bertha Parker or Bertha Cody, was an accomplished Native American archaeologist and ethnologist.  

Learn more here.

Farida Nana Efua Bedwei
(1979-)

JULY – NATIONAL DISABILITY INDEPENDENCE DAY

Farida Nana Efua Bedwei has Cerebral Palsy (CP) but that disability does not define her, nor limit her. Farida is a successful entrepreneur and software engineer.

In honor of National Disability Independence Day, which commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Farida Nana Efua Bedwei.

Learn more here.

Dr. Sally Ride - Diversity Spotlight - Carlson Caspers

Dr. Sally Ride
(1951-2012)

JUNE – PRIDE MONTH

Celebrating Pride Month, Carlson Caspers recognizes and honors the accomplishments of Dr. Sally Ride.

Physicist, Dr. Sally Ride, was the first American woman and acknowledged LGBT astronaut to enter space.

Learn more here.

Dr. Isabella Aiona Abbott Image #1

Dr. Isabella Aiona Abbott
(1919-2010)

MAY – ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Carlson Caspers recognizes and honors the trailblazing ethnobotanist, Dr. Isabella Aiona Abbott.

Dr. Abbott is the first Native Hawaiian to receive a doctoral degree in science and is regarded as a world-renowned expert on Pacific algae having identified more than 200 species.

Learn more here.

Dean Kamen - Carlson Caspers

Dean Kamen
(1951- )

APRIL – HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah), Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor Dean Kamen.

A prolific inventor, Kamen is best known for his invention of the Segway and a wheelchair that can climb stairs, known as the iBOT®.  Many of his inventions, such as a drug infusion pump, portable dialysis machine and water purification systems were developed to improve the human condition.  He is the named inventor on more than 1,000 patents.

Learn more here.

Dr. Ann Tsukamoto Featured Image - Carlson Caspers

Dr. Ann Tsukamoto
(1952- )

MARCH – WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

In honor of Women’s History Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Dr. Ann Tsukamoto.

Dr. Ann Tsukamoto is a stem cell researcher who identified and patented a process that allowed the human stem cell to be isolated. Dr. Tsukamoto’s contributions in stem cell research have revolutionized approaches to cancer treatment and the medical field at large.

Learn more here.

Dr. Marian Croak - Inventor Spotlight - Carlson Caspers

Dr. Marian Croak
(1955- )

FEBRUARY – BLACK HISTORY MONTH

In honor of Black History Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of inventor Marian Croak.

Dr. Marian Croak, now a Vice President of Engineering at Google, is best known for her contributions to the fields of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and text-to-donate technology. She is currently named as an inventor on over 200 patents, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2022.

Learn more here.

John Herrington Pic #1 - Inventor Spotlight - Carlson Caspers

John Bennett Herrington

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER – NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of John Bennett Herrington, US Navy Commander, US Naval Aviator, NASA Astronaut, and Motivational Speaker.

NASA considers John Bennett Herrington the first Native American astronaut to accomplish space travel and a spacewalk. On his journey to the International Space Station, he carried eagle feathers, arrowheads, wooden flutes, and flags of the Chickasaw and Crow nations.

Learn more here.

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Dr. Edith Klemperer

OCTOBER—WORLD MENTAL HEALTH MONTH

In honor of World Mental Health Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the extraordinary achievements of Dr. Edith Klemperer.

In honor of World Mental Health Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the extraordinary achievements of Dr. Edith Klemperer, an Austrian-American woman who invented a Luminous Brain Anatomical Model and conducted pioneering research in neurology, psychiatry, and hypnotherapy.

Learn more here.

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Olga D. González-Sanabria

SEPTEMBER—HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month Carlson Caspers celebrates the achievements of Olga D. González-Sanabria.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Carlson Caspers celebrates the extraordinary achievements of Olga D. González-Sanabria, an engineer and researcher whose work at NASA on “Long Cycle-Life Nickel-Hydrogen Batteries” resulted in extending fuel cell battery life and space travel capabilities. González-Sanabria continues her passion for engineering through her involvement in various organizations as a mentor for young Hispanic women engineers.

Learn more here.

Aaron Yazzie - Diversity Spotlight - Carlson Caspers

Aaron Yazzie

 

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.”

Learn more here.

Christian Boer - Inventor Spotlight - Carlson Caspers

Christian Boer
(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.

Learn more here.

Alan Mathison Turing - Carlson Caspers

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.

Learn more here.

Dr. Margaret M. Wu

Dr. Margaret M. Wu
(6/28/1950- )

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.”

Learn more here.

Leo Szilard #2 - Inventor Spotlight

Leo Szilard
(1898-1964)

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.

Learn more here.

Dr. Mary-Claire King

Dr. Mary-Claire King
(1946-)

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.

Learn more here.

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Garrett Augustus Morgan
(1877-1963)

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.

Learn more here.

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.