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A Truly Amazing Inventor You’ve Never Heard Of!

 
This obituary of Mr . Ovshinsky originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune October 24, 2012 reported by Elaine Woo.
 

Self-taught inventor Stanford Ovshinsky was not a household name like Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein, but he was often compared to them, for good reason.

He invented the nickel-metal hybrid battery, which has powered high-tech items such as cellphones, laptop computers and hybrid cars.

He created paper-thin solar panels potent enough to work on a cloudy day and cheap enough to be produced in sheets a mile long.

He founded a whole field of electronics that earned him a mention in dictionaries (see “ovonics”) and led to such marvels of modern life as the flat-screen TV.

Scientist’s work in hybrid cars, flat screen TVs: ‘Only genius I ever met,’ says University of Chicago physicist

Mr Ovshinsky, who never went to college yet transformed the alternative energy,  information and automotive industries with his inventions, died of prostate cancer Oct. 17 at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, according to his son Harvey.  He was 89.

The self-taught scientist-inventor pursued audacious ideas throughout his long career,often attracting the scorn of other scientists who said his schemes were foolish, impractical or just plain impossible.

In some respects, they were right. He ran Energy Conversion Devices, a product development company for 40 years, few of which were profitable. Although it drew blue-chip investors such as General Motors, 3M and Intel, it performed so poorly from a business standpoint that Forbes magazine once described it as “a high-tech Roach Motel” where the money goes in but it never comes out.”

But Mr. Ovshinsky’s path-breaking discoveries led his admirers to associate him with other brilliant minds.

“It’s difficult to compare one genius with another genius,” said University of Chicago physicist Helmut Fritzsche, who consulted for Mr. Ovshinsky and later became a vice president of Energy Conversion Devices, “but I’ve known great people, having been at the University of Chicago for over 40 years, and I consider Stan Ovshinsky the only genius I ever met… Everything he touches is new, different, wonderful.”

Mr Ovshinsky made a scientific name for himself in 1968, when he went public with research showing that glass could be engineered to conduct electricity. He predicted that glass semiconductors would one day replace crystalline transistors.

To argue as he did, that cheap noncrystalline materials such as glass could perform as well as more expensive silicon crystals sounded preposterous and derided by readers of Physical Review Letters, the prestigious journal that published Mr. Ovshinsky’s findings.

But his paper eventually became one of the five most cited publications in the journal’s history, and his prediction became prophecy, spawning a new field he called ovonics.

Born in Akron, Ohio, on November 24, 1922, he  was the son of Bertha Munitz and Benjamin Ovshinsky, a Lithuanian immigrant who later entered the scrap business.

Young Stan fell in love with machinery while accompanying his father to foundries and machine shops.

A mediocre student he spent hours in the Akron public library, where his real education took place. “His teachers didn’t understand him, but his librarian did,” his son said. “The librarian let him take out adult books.  ….. He was tireless in his curiosity.”

Mr. Ovshinsky’s formal education ended when he graduated from high school in 1941. Exempted from military service during World War II because of his asthma, he worked as a toolmaker and married Norma Rifkin, a childhhood sweetheart.

That marriage ended in divorce. In 1959 he married Iris Miroy; she died in 2006. He later married Rosa Young, who survives him along with three sons from his first marriage, four stepchildren, a brother and six grandchildren and stepgrandchildren.

In 1960 he and his second wife, Iris, founded what became Energy Conversion Devices with the goal of using science and technology to solve the world’s environmental and social problems. It’s nickel-metal hybrid batery, often called the NiMH, was one of its most successful products, used in electric and hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.

Mr. Ovshinsky’s commitment to alternative energy sources earned him a spot on Time magazine’s list of “Heroes for the Planet” in 1999.

He retired from Energy Conversion Devices in 2007. The company filed for bankruptcy this year.

But Mr. Ovshinsky, who held more than 300 patents, did not stop inventing. “A real inventor,” he told the Detroit Free Press in 2008, “is not motivated by money. It’s about the idea and the creation.”

 

If only Mr . Ovshinsky was aware of the book on how to sell by mail order written by Fred Broitman. He might have been more successful in selling the wonderful products he invented.

 

Have you ever thought you had a great ideas for a product but didn’t know how to go about selling it?

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Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman has written this complete guide to starting your own home based business. If you would like to start a business that you can operate from your home and sell all over all over the world then this is your lucky day.

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SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
14 SURE FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS

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