It has been said that “necessity is the mother of all inventions”. Invention is the most important product of scientific knowledge and history is full of Jewish inventors, some of whom are responsible for many of the most important inventions of our time. There are over 15 million Jewish people worldwide including indigenous and people of Jewish descent. We will briefly discuss some of the most famous Jewish inventors
Einstein was born March 14, 1879, in Germany. The genius developed the theory of relativity; one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass-energy equivalence formula E=mc2. Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers and more than 150 non-scientific works. He died 18th April 1955.
Brin was born August 21, 1973, to Russian Jewish parents. He is a computer scientist. Together with Larry Page, he co-founded Google while they attended Stanford University. When Google was first founded in 1998, no one could quite understand the impact that the search engine company would have on the internet and the world. Google is no longer known as only a search engine as it makes different types of products from Gmail to Drive to Google Chrome. Google is leading the development of Android operating system which is used on all Android phones. In 2002, Brin, along with Larry Page, was named the MIT Technology Review TR100, as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35. In 2003, Brin and Page were both award recipients and National finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2004, they received the Marconi Foundation Prize, the “Highest Award in Engineering.” As of October 2018, Brin is the 13th-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US $50.6 billion.
Best known for inventing the television remote control. Robert Adler was associate director of research at Zenith in the 1950s when the company’s founder, Commander E.F. McDonald Jnr., challenged his engineers to develop a device to tune out commercials. Adler’s solution was to use sound waves to transmit signals to the TV- thus inventing the first remote control called the Space Command. In the 1960s, Adler updated the remote control to use ultrasonic signals, a technology which was used for the next 25 years, until it was replaced by infrared systems. Adler’s last patent application was filed on October 6, 2006, for work on touch-screen technology. He passed away in 2007.
Bohr was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 7 October 1885, to a wealthy Danish Jewish family prominent in banking and parliamentary circles. He made fundamental contributions to understanding the atomic structure and quantum mechanics for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. He developed the Bohr model of the atom in which he proposed that energy levels of electrons are discrete and that the electrons revolve in stable orbits around the atomic nucleus but can jump from one energy level to another. Bohr was also a philosopher and promoter of scientific research. After the discovery of fission, Bohr was acutely aware of the theoretical
possibility of making an atomic bomb. He took part in its development making significant technical contributions. He died November 1962.
Samuel Ruben made lasting contributions to electrochemistry and solid state technology including the founding of dura-cell batteries. Although he had no college degree, he received several honorary degrees including an honorary doctor of science degree from Columbia University in the department of chemical engineering and applied science. Throughout his lifetime, he accumulated over 300 patents.
While working as a journalist in Hungary, Biro noticed that the ink used in newspaper printing dried quickly without leaving a smear. He used the same ink in a fountain pen but it did not flow to the tip. He then developed a new tip consisting of a ball that turned in a socket. As it turned, it would pick up ink from the cartridge and the roll to deposit it on the paper.
Born on December 15, 1923, the Israeli army officer and inventor designed the Uzi submachine gun, a compact automatic weapon used throughout the world as a police and Special Forces firearm. To escape the Nazi rise to power, Gal moved to England in 1933 and then to Kibbutz Yagur in Northern Palestine, in 1936. He studied mechanical engineering while imprisoned (1943-1945) by the British authorities there for unauthorized firearms possession. On his release, he developed weapons for the new Israeli army. He produced a weapon that was easy to load, compact, heat and dust resistant, and reasonably stable and accurate even when fired automatically. It was also less hazardous to the user than earlier models because of its safety trigger. In 1956, Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion presented him with the first Israel Security Award. Gal continued to develop armaments for Israel until his retirement from the military in 1975. He died September 7, 2002.
Philippe Kahn is a technology innovator and entrepreneur who created the first camera phone. He is also a pioneer of wearable technology and founded three technology companies: Fullpower Technologies, Lightsurf Technologies, and Starfish Software. He holds several dozen technology patents.
Other notable mentions are Isidor Isaac Rabi, Ruth Arianna Handler, Paul Maurice Zoll, etc. Each and every one of these inventors has had a profound impact on our world by improving the quality of life. These Jewish thinkers pushed themselves to think beyond limits of what was currently possible in their time so as we enjoy great advantages from the invention of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours.
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