Advances in Solar Power

Emanuel “Ely” Sachs was born in New York, New York, on November 30, 1954. He is a major player in alternative energy research, particularly in the area of photovoltaics, a solar power technology using solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity.


Canada native Donald Robert Sadoway has devoted much of his career to developing technology aimed at using energy and resources more efficiently in order to lessen harmful effects to the environment. Holder of a dozen patents, his research on next-generation batteries has resulted in a novel device known as the “SlimCell,” which could be a step toward making electric cars more viable for the masses and might also enable safer, more powerful portable computing machines.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Before the 1950s, when a person suffered cardiac arrest, this generally meant death was imminent. But surgeon and medical innovator Peter Safar changed that with his development and popularization of the procedure known as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

Polio Vaccine

Jonas Edward Salk, developer of the first successful vaccine for polio, was born on October 28, 1914 in New York City. The oldest son of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, Salk worked after school to help pay for his education at the City College of New York, and then the New York University School of Medicine. He was the first member of his family to attend college. He graduated from NYU in 1938.

Alternative Raw Materials and Methods for Paper

Jordan Sand was a high school senior (class of 2001) at Ellendale High School in Ellendale, North Dakota who had a bright future as an environmental scientist in the making. At 18 years old, having created a number of devices related to the agricultural world, Sand was already proving that innovation can be applied not only by engineers on mechanical devices, but also to solve environmental and economic issues.

Chemex® Coffeemaker

Beginning around the turn of the 19th century, a movement toward bringing attractive design to everyday household items began to gain momentum. A variety of artisans, manufacturers and product developers churned out a steady stream of innovative products and designs, with the aim of bringing art into everyday life and, of course, hoping to make a healthy profit.


Klaus K. Schmiegel helped to change the lives of millions of people around the world suffering from depression. His work in organic chemistry lead to the development of the widely successful antidepressant Prozac.

The Typewriter

The typewriter was reinvented dozens of times; but credit for the first practical machine is given to Christopher Latham Sholes of Milwaukee.


Terahertz radiation, which consists of electromagnetic waves sent at Terahertz (trillion cycles-per-second) frequencies, is among today’s most often-touted breakthrough technologies for sensing and imaging. It can “see” through a variety of nonconducting materials such as plastics, paper, wood, ceramics and skin, similar to x-rays. However, unlike x-rays, t-rays are non-ionizing, which means they may be safer for humans than x-rays are for some applications.

TB Test

Biochemist Florence Barbara Seibert developed a groundbreaking procedure that lead to the standard tuberculosis test used to detect the potentially deadly virus in infants, children and adults around the world in the 1930s.

Plasticized PVC

Waldo Semon took a detour in his assigned laboratory research one day and ended up inventing the world’s second-best-selling plastic:  polyvinyl chloride, a.k.a. PVC, a.k.a. vinyl.


Accidents have been responsible for a great number of American inventions, from the implantable cardiac pacemaker to the microwave oven to silly putty.  Patsy Sherman capitalized on an accident to invent one of America’s most readily recognized chemicals, Scotchgard™.

Dr. John’s Herbal Candy

Candy that’s good for your teeth? It may sound too good to be true but that’s exactly what microbiologist and inventor Wenyuan Shi has brought to market: a tasty lollipop made of ingredients that have the ability to fight the primary bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay.

Sojourner Rover

Donna Shirley, the original leader of the team that built the Mars Pathfinder rover, grew up in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. As a teenager in the 1950s, she knew she wanted to become an engineer, despite the fact that few girls were entering the field at that time. Math was her worst subject, but she worked hard to learn it in pursuit of her dream.


Kavita Shukla had just finished high school and was already on her way to a prolific career in science and invention, with two patents and a company of her own to her credit.


Aviation pioneer Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky was born May 25, 1889 in Kiev, Russia. He created the first successful helicopter in 1939, and is credited with many other outstanding accomplishments in the field of aircraft design.

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

Luther George Simjian (1905-1997) was a lifelong inventor whose inventions include the self-focusing camera, a flight speed indicator for airplanes, an automatic postage metering machine, and the teleprompter.  However, he is perhaps most famous for his invention of the Bankmatic automatic teller machine (ATM).

Singer Sewing Machine

Isaac Merrit Singer developed the first commercially successful sewing machine. Born in 1811 in Pittstown, New York, Singer spent much of his youth devoted to acting.  At age 38, when his career in show business proved unsuccessful, Singer settled in New York to focus on inventing full-time.

Screenless hammermill

Working with innovative instincts and a broad world-view, Amy Smith has made a career of inventing devices that improve conditions in developing countries, including the phase-change incubator and the screenless hammermill.

The Cuisinart® Food Processor

Carl G. Sontheimer was an accomplished engineer, entrepreneur, and cook, most famous for giving America the Cuisinart.

The Gyroscopic Compass

Elmer Ambrose Sperry is one of the foremost inventor-entrepreneurs of American history. He founded 8 companies and earned more than 350 patents, most notably for the gyroscopic compass.

Electric Trolley Systems

Urban development got a major boost in 1887 when inventor Frank Julian Sprague developed the world’s first successful electric street railway system, making it feasible to build cities and towns that were more vast in size and allowing for a greater concentration of businesses in commercial areas.

Water Talkies™

In most respects, Richie Stachowski, who lives in Orinda, California, is a typical, fun loving 13-year-old, who vastly prefers sports to school. On the other hand, Richie is the Founder and President of a company boasting about a half-million dollars in annual revenues.

Improvements to Alternating Current Motor

Mathematician, engineer and inventor Charles Proteus Steinmetz was responsible during the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th century for solving a number of problems related to the generation and transmission of electricity, at a critical time in history rife with developments that formed the technological characteristics of the modern, "wired" world.

Cis-Lunar MK6 Rebreather

Adventurer-engineer William “Bill” C. Stone combines his passion for and experience with expeditionary caving and scientific exploration to create new high-tech data-gathering and survival systems. His numerous inventions are aimed at making it easier for humans to explore remote environments from deep underwater to outer space.

Automatic Toaster

It is easy to take for granted many of today’s most common household tools and appliances. A variety of concepts that seem simple to us now, however, actually came about via a great deal of ingenuity and perseverance, coupled with excellent timing and business sense.

Innovations in Water Irrigation Systems

During the early decades of settlement of what is today known as the bustling metropolitan area surrounding Los Angeles, Calif., Harriet Russell Strong was involved in a variety of fields and causes there, from water conservation and farming to improving education and women’s rights. Her inventions of new types of dams and water storage systems represented major breakthroughs in dry-land irrigation that helped farmers throughout the southwest. Despite her lack of a formal education, her persistence and determination throughout her life lead her to make a difference in many lasting and invaluable ways.


Ivan Sutherland was born in 1938 in Hastings, Nebraska. The child of a civil engineer father, he found it very exciting to discover how things worked. He knew early on that he wanted to be an engineer, and he learned how to program a computer while he was in high school. At the time, that was a very rare skill, especially among high school students.

“Fido” Sensors

Technology developed by organic chemist Timothy M. Swager has the potential to save countless lives through its ability to detect trace amounts of explosives as effectively as, if not better than, a trained canine.

High-Tech Girls Toys

Getting young girls interested in science and technology has always been a challenge in the U.S. Sociological factors have generally encouraged boys to enter such fields while girls have been “left out in the cold,” so to speak.  Janese Swanson, founded Girl Tech to change that.  Her company specialized in creating toys and other products aimed at making technology more interesting for girls.


Nomex inventor Wilfred Sweeney was born in Glasgow, Scotland on April 22, 1926. As a child he developed a keen interest in science, and often received gifts such as chemistry sets for Christmas. He loved coming up with concoctions such as invisible inks.