Skip to main content

Inventors Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

| Volume 26 |  Issue 1

Here is the list of this year's inductees.

1. Leonard Adleman - RSA Cryptography
2. Marvin Caruthers - Chemical Synthesis of DNAStan Honey - Sports Broadcast Graphic Enhancements
3. Warren S. Johnson (Posthumous) - Temperature Control
4. Howard S. Jones, Jr. (Posthumous) - Conformal Antennas
5. Sumita Mitra - Nanocomposite Dental Materials
6. Arogyaswami Paulraj - MIMO Wireless Technology

1. Leonard Adleman - RSA Cryptography

RSA Cryptography is the world’s most widely used public-key cryptography method for securing communication on the Internet. Instrumental to the growth of e-commerce, RSA is used in almost all Internet-based transactions to safeguard sensitive data such as credit card numbers.

Introduced in 1977 by MIT colleagues Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman, RSA—its name derived from the initials of their surnames—is a specific type of public-key cryptography, or PKC, innovated in 1976 by Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, and Ralph Merkle. Intrigued by their research, Rivest, with Shamir and Adleman, developed a cryptosystem to enable secure message encoding and decoding between communicating parties. As Rivest and Shamir worked to develop an unbreakable key system, Adleman tried to break each one, doing so 42 times before the trio achieved success.

Unlike previous methods requiring securely-exchanged keys to encrypt and decrypt messages, RSA provided a method for encryption and decryption without both parties needing a shared secret key. RSA could also mark messages with a digital signature, and allowed originators to create messages intelligible only to intended recipients; third parties intercepting such transmissions would find them indecipherable.

Adleman, a native of San Francisco, earned his B.A. in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he went on to earn his Ph.D. in computer science. A distinguished professor at the University of Southern California, Adleman is also known for his work in number theory and as the father of the field of DNA computation. He has received numerous awards, including the 2002 ACM Turing Award with Rivest and Shamir.

2. Marvin Caruthers - Chemical Synthesis of DNA

In the early 1980s, biochemist Marvin Caruthers and his team at the University of Colorado Boulder developed the methods for chemically synthesizing DNA, a breakthrough that dramatically advanced biological research and helped launch the biotechnology industry. Caruthers’ work transformed protein and DNA synthesis from highly specialized basic research into a widely used research, diagnostic, and forensic tool.

The ability to synthesize DNA, rapidly and in the lab, enables researchers to learn how certain genetic sequences are formed, and to locate and isolate genes for selected proteins. Early clinical studies on drugs stemming from Caruthers’ techniques showed remarkable benefits for patients with severe kidney disease and cancer.

Caruthers began working on improving the reliability of DNA synthesis while in the Ph.D. program at Northwestern University, and continued his research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and MIT. As a faculty member at the University of Colorado Boulder, he developed key advances such as adopting a more stable solid substrate onto which growing molecules could be attached. He also devised methods making it possible to manufacture and ship DNA synthesis reagents on a commercial scale. Caruthers’ procedures have been incorporated into "gene machines" automating synthetic DNA production used by biochemists, biologists, molecular biologists, and biophysical chemists in multiple research applications. More recently his procedures have been adapted for use with modified ink jet printers to synthesize DNA on glass chips.

Caruthers received his B.S. in chemistry from Iowa State University, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Northwestern University. The co-founder of several successful biotech companies, including Amgen and Applied Biosystems, he holds 43 U.S. patents and has received numerous awards, including the 2006 U.S. National Medal of Science.

3. Stan Honey - Sports Broadcast Graphic Enhancements


4. Warren S. Johnson (Posthumous) - Temperature Control


5. Howard S. Jones, Jr. (Posthumous) - Conformal Antennas


6. Sumita Mitra - Nanocomposite Dental Materials


Arogyaswami Paulraj - MIMO Wireless Technology


Mary Engle Pennington
Food Preservation and Storage
Jacqueline Quinn
EZVI (Emulsified Zero-Valent
Ronald Rivest
RSA Cryptography
Adi Shamir
RSA Cryptography
Joseph C. Shivers, Jr.
LYCRA® Fiber/Spandex
Ching Wan Tang
Organic Light-Emitting Diode
Paul Terasaki
Tissue Typing for Organ
Transplants; Terasaki Tray
Steven Van Slyke
Organic Light-Emitting Diode




We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support America's only magazine of the history of engineering and innovation, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to Invention & Technology.


Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.