Internet users around the world have become so familiar with the search engine phenomenon known as Google that the word, “google,” has an entry as a verb in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Crown Bottle Cap

Some inventions appear small at first glance, but often a closer look proves a simple device can have a revolutionary impact. Such is the case with the “crown cap,” the ubiquitous, indispensable style of bottle cap found on beer and soft drink bottles around the world, created in 1891 by William Painter.

Balloon Expandable Stent

A common cause of heart attack and stroke is restricted blood flow caused by atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries. Millions who suffer from this condition have been able to avoid coronary bypass surgery and evade heart attack, stroke and even premature death thanks to a revolutionary, implantable device, the balloon expandable stent, developed over nearly a decade by Julio C. Palmaz.

Pascaline calculator 

Mathematician and inventor Blaise Pascal was born in Clermont, France on June 29, 1623. His mother passed away when he and his two sisters were very young, and their father became solely responsible for their upbringing. He was a judge in Clermont, who moved the family to Paris in 1623, in part to further the education of his son, who was showing early potential for academic brilliance.


Louis Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822 in Dole, a small town in eastern France. As a youngster he showed talent as an artist, but no special ability in school. This changed however, in his high school years, as he became more and more interested in scientific subjects. In 1842, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree at the Besancon College Royal de la Franche with honors in physics, mathematics, and Latin. He moved on to the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris to study physics and chemistry.  He received his doctoral degree in 1847.

Carbon Dioxide Laser

There are many types of lasers, which vary in strength, efficiency and utility.  Perhaps the most useful of them all is the carbon dioxide laser, invented by Kumar Patel in 1964.


Limnologist Ruth Patrick was born in Topeka, Kansas on November 26, 1907. As a child she learned to appreciate nature, especially plants, after numerous trips to the countryside with her family. Later she developed an interest in the microscopic organisms in water. In 1929, she received her BS degree from Coker College in South Carolina. She received her MS degree from the University of Virginia two years later.

American Sign Language Translator/Glove

Sometimes it takes a young innovator’s fresh eyes and outsider’s perspective to come up with a unique solution to a long-standing problem. Grand Junction, Colorado, native Ryan Patterson did just that when, at age 17, he invented the American Sign Language Translator.

Solid-body Electric Guitar

One would be hard-pressed to find a guitar fan unfamiliar with the name Les Paul, who not only established himself as a renowned, pacesetting musician with a signature sound, but also contributed a number of advances in guitar design and recording processes, most notably with his invention of the solid-body electric guitar.

The Pelton Water Wheel

The California Gold Rush, which took place from 1848 through 1855, brought thousands of men and women from the eastern states and around the world to America’s west coast in search of fortune and prosperity. While a lucky few did find their fortunes in the gold itself, others found it through opportunities in related services and businesses, such as lodging, transportation, engineering and mining equipment.


It’s difficult to imagine a world without Coca-Cola, the most popular soft drink on earth. Pharmacist John Stith Pemberton created the original formula in 1885. Born in 1831 in Knoxville, Georgia, Pemberton earned his medical degree at age 19 and practiced some medicine and surgery early in his career. He later opened his own drug store in Columbus, Georgia.

Spanning Tree Protocol

During the 1970s scientists and programmers were working hard on assembling the networks and technology to enable what we now know as the Internet. Engineer and mathematician Radia Perlman was one of very few women involved in process at that time. Her invention of the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol solved a challenging information routing problem and earned her the moniker “Mother of the Internet.”

Reverse Phase High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-HPLC)

Though his name may be unfamiliar to some, the remarkable achievements that scientist and inventor Dr. Sidney Pestka has contributed to the medical and biotechnology fields have touched the lives of millions around the world and helped patients battle a number of serious illnesses and diseases, from cancer to multiple sclerosis to dozens of viruses.

The Bra Ball

It may sound like a trivial problem to some, but many women know that when you put a bra in the washing machine you have a pretty good chance of seeing it come out with unsightly lumps and bumps, punctures, and wrinkles that are virtually impossible to get out. When that happens, women are forced to wear the bras with their imperfections, or simply toss them out and hit the store for replacements.

Flex-Foot Prosthetics

Van Phillips, inventor of the Flex-Foot brand of prosthetic feet and limbs, turned a tragic moment into a revolutionary business that has helped thousands around the world lead more normal, active lives.

Birth Control Pill

Gregory Goodwin Pincus was one of the creators of the first effective birth-control pill. Born on April 9, 1903, in Woodbine, New Jersey, his father was a teacher, the editor of the “Jewish Farmer” and an agricultural consultant. However, Pincus credited two uncles, both agricultural scientists, as responsible for his early interest in research.

Jolly Jumper

Mothers and babies around the world enjoy the soothing, bouncing motion of an ingenious swing known as the Jolly Jumper, invented by Olivia Poole in 1910.

Household Products

Anyone who's a fan of television infomercials has undoubtedly spotted inventor Ron Popeil peddling his wares on air sometime during the last couple of decades. Popeil, whose inventions have earned him more than a billion dollars in retail sales, has created a range of consumer products ranging from cooking tools to hairspray.

B-Chain Magainin Derivative

Biotechnologist Emilie Porter was fortunate enough to get involved in research very early on in her education. This was the factor, she says, that helped her accomplish an important discovery in her field while still a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin.

Telegraphone – Voicemail

The now taken-for-granted system of voicemail was made possible by the work of Danish inventor Valdemar Poulsen, born on November 23, 1869 in Copenhagen. As a child he was interested in art and physics, but not mathematics, much to the dismay of his parents. They wanted him to become a doctor, but he left medical school without graduating and at age 24 took a position at the Copenhagen Telephone Company.

Pullman Sleeper Railroad Car

George Mortimer Pullman, inventor of the Pullman sleeping car, was born on March 3, 1831 in Brocton, New York.  He dropped out of school at age 14, but he had a natural knack for business. He began working with a merchant and then took on an apprenticeship in cabinet-making at age 17.