Canadia born James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, was born on November 6, 1861 in Almonte, Ontario. He and his three siblings were orphaned when both parents died of typhoid fever in 1871. They lived with their grandmother until she passed away, then moved in with an uncle who had a farm in Bennie’s Corners, Ontario.

Blue Light-Emiting Diode (LED)

Shuji Nakamura was born on May 22, 1954 in Ikata, Ehime, Japan. He completed a degree in electronic engineering at the University of Tokushima in 1977, followed by a master’s degree in 1979. More than a decade of research led to his 1993 development of the blue light-emitting diode, or LED, which has enabled the creation of the white-light-emitting LED, the first viable, ultra-efficient successor to the incandescent light bulb invented by Thomas Edison in 1878.

“Clocky” Alarm Clock

Few would deny that the first thing they do when the alarm clock goes off in the morning is to hit that snooze button and go right back to sleep.

Advances in Tissue Engineering

The field of tissue engineering has transformed many areas of medicine, particularly reconstructive surgery and burn treatment, since it began in the early 1980s. Techniques developed by this field’s early pioneers, such as Gail K. Naughton, have made incredible procedures possible that earlier generations could have barely foreseen.  As a result, thousands of patients worldwide now have less painful, more powerful treatment options for a range of afflictions from heart disease to diabetes to severe burns and torn ligaments.

Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC)

Mathematician John von Neumann was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1903. As a very young child, he impressed the people around him with his incredible memory. It was said that he could memorize pages of the phone book and divide 8-digit numbers in his head by the age of six. He was recognized as the best math student in Hungary in 1921. In 1925, he received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Technische Hochschule) in Zurich, and in 1926, he completed his doctoral degree in mathematics at the University of Budapest.

Advances in Animatronics

For virtually any man, woman, or child born after 1950, the Muppets are sure to be familiar characters. For millions, the Muppets have provided hours of entertainment along with many fond memories.

The Reflecting Telescope

Isaac Newton was one of an elite group of individuals considered to have possessed one of the greatest scientific minds in history.  His achievements span a variety of fields he considered connected, including mathematics, chemistry, optics, and philosophy. His discoveries, which encompass fundamental principles that formed the basis for Calculus, laws of motion, gravitational theory, and theories of color, have clearly stood the test of time.

The Trampoline

Blairstown, Iowa native George Nissen invented a device loved by tumblers, athletes, adults, and children around the world – the trampoline. He holds more than 40 patents related to sports and fitness and has been a tireless promoter of the trampoline and its myriad uses throughout his life.

HyperSonic Sound

Elwood “Woody” Norris proves that there is no magic formula for becoming a successful inventor. Born in 1939 in Barrelville, Maryland, his mother and father had eighth-grade and third-grade educations, respectively, and Norris’s formal training stopped with high school. Nonetheless, his aptitude for electronics and entrepreneurship and his enthusiasm for creating new technologies has taken him to the top of his game. Now the Chairman and CEO of American Technology Corporation in the San Diego suburb of Poway, California, he has more than 40 U.S. and 100 international patents and a variety of successful inventions to his credit in fields as diverse as sound technology, transportation, and medicine.