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Stanford Ovshinsky: 5 Facts About ‘The Edison of Our Age’
Posted By Patrick Kiger On October 22, 2012 @ 3:19 pm In Legacy | No Comments
It’s a safe bet that unless you’re a scientist or an engineer, you’ve probably never heard of Stanford Ovshinsky. And that’s a shame, because his inventions made possible a lot of the electronic gadgetry that our 21st-century high-tech world has become so dependent on.
The quirky, self-taught inventor, who died on Oct. 17 in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., at age 89, was once labeled the “Edison of our age” by The Economist magazine, and for good reason. Ovshinksy held almost 700 patents, and nearly every battery maker in the world licensed his version of the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery, which powers everything from flashlights to hybrid cars. He also held patents for technology that makes possible flat-panel TV and computer screens and the rewritable CDs and DVDs that we use to record and play back music and movies. He also pioneered the development of the materials used in solar panels, and in his late 80s was still working intently on his dream of making solar energy cheaper than electricity from coal.
But although Ovshinsky left an impressive technological legacy, he’s even more memorable as a throwback to the time in history when a self-taught tinkerer such as Edison or Marconi would change the world with a new gadget. Here are five of the oddest, most interesting facts about one of our greatest inventors.
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