Yvonne Brill Inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Yvonne Brill Inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Yvonne Brill, inventor of the hydrazine-hydrazine resistojet propulsion system for geostationary communications satellites, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame today. She is one of 15 inventors honored this year. Ms. Brill started her career with Douglas Aircraft in the 1940’s and eventually went to work for RCA at a time when the company built satellites. It was there that she invented the engine.

Another inductee today was Roger Easton, who developed the Timation navigation system that is at the heart of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Space was not the dominant theme today, however. Among the other inductees were Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan (both posthumously) for their invention of the modern demand regulator that enabled SCUBA (self contained underwater breathing apparatus) diving; Ralph Baer, the inventor of videogames; Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver, who created Post It notes – the office product one cannot live without; and S. Donald Stookey, a glass genius who — accidentally — invented the glass that makes CorningWare possible.

A full list of the inductees and their truly impressive inventions is available on the National Inventors Hall of Fame website. This Hall of Fame was created by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and a group of intellectual property attorneys to recognize and celebrate “individuals responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible.” Its first inductee in 1973 was Thomas Edison for his invention of the electric lamp.

The PTO is part of the Department of Commerce, and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke appeared by videotape, apologizing that he could not be there in person for this event, which had to be rescheduled from its original date because of the huge snowstorms in Washington. Several Members of Congress also participated by videotape to acknowledge the inventors from their districts. Neal Conan, host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation, was master of ceremonies.

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