Public Release: 

National Inventors Hall of Fame announces 2007 inductees

Inventors' work includes Ethernet, automotive airbag, the MRI

National Inventors Hall of Fame

Washington, D.C. (February 8, 2007) -- Continuing its commitment to honor invention and innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has recognized the next group of world-class inventors who will be inducted into its ranks. This year's wide-ranging class includes inventors such as John Franz, who discovered the non-toxic popular weed killer Roundup®, Allen Breed, who invented the automotive airbag, Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccines have nearly eliminated many common childhood diseases in developed countries, and Robert Metcalfe, who created Ethernet, the widely used local area network.

The 2007 group includes seven living inventors whose accomplishments have improved our lives. Medical imaging, information storage, communication networks, and biotechnology are just a few of the areas where their influence can be seen.

The 2007 class of inductees:


  • Paul Baran: Digital packet switching
  • Emmett Chappelle: Bioluminescence techniques
  • John Franz: Roundup® herbicide
  • Leroy Hood: DNA sequencer
  • Paul Lauterbur: Magnetic resonance imaging--MRI
  • Peter Mansfield: Magnetic resonance imaging--MRI
  • Robert Metcalfe: Ethernet


  • Allen Breed: Automotive airbag
  • David Cushman, Miguel Ondetti: Captopril
  • Donald Davies: Digital packet switching
  • William Goddard, John Lynott: Magnetic disk storage
  • Peter Goldmark: Long playing record
  • Maurice Hilleman: Vaccines
  • Godfrey Hounsfield: CAT scanner
  • Arthur Nobile: Prednisone
  • Otto Wichterle: Soft contact lens

Every year, the National Inventors Hall of Fame honors through induction the individuals whose work has changed society and improved the way we live. Their vision, hard work, and creative drive have led to powerful new tools that shape the future while celebrating invention. The 2007 class will be inducted this year on May 4th and 5th at the annual induction ceremonies held in Akron, Ohio.

"We're pleased to recognize such a distinguished group of inventors who have truly changed the way we live our lives," said Fred Allen, Vice President of Selection of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. "They deserve our gratitude and our respect for all that they've accomplished."

This year's inductees are an accomplished group:

Paul Baran (1926- ) Digital packet switching

Baran developed one of the fundamental concepts behind today's advanced computer networking systems. Digital packet switching allowed for better data networks and provided the technical foundation for the eventual development of the Internet Protocol.

Allen Breed (1927-1999) Automotive air bag

Breed pioneered a significant advance in automotive safety with the introduction of his first air bag system in the late 1960s. Air bags are now standard equipment on all automobiles as mandated by the National Traffic Safety Administration.

Emmett Chappelle (1925- ) Bioluminescence techniques

Through his discovery that a specific combination of chemicals caused living organisms to emit light, Chappelle facilitated important findings within the fields of biology and chemistry, including developing techniques for detecting bacteria in such items as food and water.

David Cushman (1939-2000) and Miguel Ondetti (1930-2004) Captopril

By synthesizing captopril during their careers at Bristol Myers Squibb, Cushman and Ondetti created the first medical treatment that significantly reduced hypertension. Captopril ws the first of a new class of drugs called ACE inhibitors.

Donald Davies (1924-2000) Digital packet switching

Working independently from Paul Baran, Davies came up with the idea of packet switching, enabling the efficient exchange of information between computers, making modern computer communications both functional and robust.

John Franz (1929- ) Roundup® herbicide

In 1970, while working at Monsanto, Franz discovered the glyphosate class of herbicides, later marketed under the brand name Roundup®. Glyphosate herbicides eliminate more than 125 kinds of weeds and are nontoxic to animals.

William Goddard (1913-1997) and John Lynott (1921-1994) Magnetic disk drive

Goddard and Lynott's invention of magnetic disk storage while with IBM was a major advancement in mass-storage technology, allowing for almost instant access and retrieval of stored information.

Peter Goldmark (1906-1977) Long playing record

Goldmark's LP record dominated the music industry for years. His innovation allowed lengthier recordings of music to be feasible.

Maurice Hilleman (1919-2005) Vaccines

While at Merck, Hilleman pioneered the development of many of the vaccines used throughout the world such as MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), varicella, and hepatitis A & B. Considered the greatest vaccine developer of the 20th century, during his life he was credited with saving more lives than any living scientist.

Leroy Hood (1938- ) DNA sequencer

Hood's DNA sequencer has played a crucial role in the biotech industry, greatly accelerating the progress of the Human Genome Project in the 1990s.

Godfrey Hounsfield (1919-2004) CAT scanner

Hounsfield was a pioneer in computerized-assisted tomography. CAT scans have since provided physicians with valuable diagnostic information, revolutionizing medical care.

Paul Lauterbur (1929- ) Magnetic resonance imaging--MRI

Lauterbur made the widespread application of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology possible by devising a practical way to make images. Today, MRI is an important tool in modern medicine.

Peter Mansfield (1933- ) Magnetic resonance imaging--MRI

Working independently from Paul Lauterbur, Mansfield developed efficient technology that allowed for faster MRI imaging.

Robert Metcalfe (1946- ) Ethernet

With his invention of Ethernet, Metcalfe created a way to link computers to one another and to the Internet. Ethernet is the most widely used local area network, or LAN.

Arthur Nobile (1920-2004) Prednisone

Nobile's discovery of the steroids prednisone and prednisolone was a significant advance in medicine. The highly effective anti-inflammatory drugs have become indispensable in treating autoimmune diseases.

Otto Wichterle (1913-1998) Soft contact lens

Wichterle's soft contact lens proved to be less expensive and more comfortable than traditional glass or hard plastic lenses. A significant part of his invention was the process for making the lenses.

Inventors may be nominated by anyone for induction into the Hall of Fame, but they must hold a U.S. patent to be considered. The nominee's invention must have contributed to the welfare of society and have promoted the progress of science and the useful arts. All nominations are reviewed by the Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from national science and technology organizations.


The not-for-profit National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier organization in America dedicated to honoring and fostering creativity and invention. Each year a new class of inventors is inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of their patented inventions that make human, social, and economic progress possible. Founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall's permanent home is Akron, Ohio, where the inventors in the Hall are honored and from where it administers its national programs, including Camp Invention®, Club Invention®, Invent Now®, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition®.

Note: For more information, including image access, visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame web site at for downloads. For further questions, including inventor interview inquiries, please contact Rini Paiva, National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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