For the past 25 years, the Lemelson-MIT Program has given an annual $500K prize to a mid-career inventor whose work offers a significant value to society, for improving lives and communities, and has been adopted or has a high probability of being adopted for practical use.  The 26 inventors celebrated over the last 25 years demonstrate the significant impact people can have in the world and serve as role models for young inventors, including those participating in the Lemelson-MIT Program’s invention education and Student Prize programs.  

Lemelson-MIT Prize Retrospective Project

The Lemelson-MIT Program and The Lemelson Foundation believe that the work of the 26 winners provide compelling evidence of the positive social and economic impact of invention. We have asked the RAND Corporation to provide a careful and impartial assessment of the value provided to society by the inventions of recipients of the Lemelson-MIT Prize. The analysis will consider impact in aggregate across all prize winners and through case studies of the prize winners from three particular years. The report will be supplemented by interviews with six winners describing their lived experiences. The case studies are being prepared by History Associates. We anticipate a release date for both the report and the case studies on National Inventors’ Day, February 11, 2021. Please sign-up here to be notified of the release and other related events.
 

2019

Creates renewable energy technologies
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2018

Inventor of reCAPTCHA, co-inventor of CAPTCHA and creator of a free language-learning platform, Duolingo
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2017

Pioneer of the revolutionary CRISPR technology and optogenetics
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2016

Inventor of Femto-photography
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2015

Created first mass-produced low-cost, eco-friendly battery
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2014

Creator of tiny technologies for medicine
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2013

Genetically engineers viruses to create new products
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2012

Commercialization of inventions Revolutionizing Human Health
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2011

Invented healthcare tools that can better integrate with the human body
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2010

Invented the world’s first bioorthogonal chemical reaction, a technology for labeling biomolecules in living cells or animals
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2009

Invented Dip-Pen Nanolithography and nanoparticle-based biodetection schemes
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2008

Invented PRINT® (Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates) technology used to manufacture nanocarriers in medicine.
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2007

Invented an amplified chemical sensor that uses molecular wires to detect the presence of vapors from explosives.
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2006

Developed and improved modern liquid crystal technology
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2005

Created a sonar tool to isolate different movements inside the human body: Transcutaneous Doppler system
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2004

Invented the first practical LED (light emitting diode)
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2003

Invented some of modern molecular biology's core instruments, including the DNA Sequencer.
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2002

Invented IBOT, a battery-powered wheelchair that can climb stairs and the Segway.
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2001

Invented the first reading machine for the blind
Lemelson-MIT Prize

2000

Revolutionized surgical embolectomy procedures
Lemelson-MIT Prize

1999

Revolutionized the semiconductor industry with very-large-integrated circuits.
Lemelson-MIT Prize

1998

Langer's research into polymers led to the slow release of micro-encapsulated doses of ionic drugs, peptides and other large molecule drugs
Lemelson-MIT Prize

1997

Invented the computer mouse
Lemelson-MIT Prize

1996

Opened the door to genetic engineering and laid the foundations for gene therapy and the biotechnology industry
Lemelson-MIT Prize

1995

Develped mathematical models for automotive computers
Lemelson-MIT Prize