Inventing a Better Tomorrow:The Life and Legacy of Stanford R. Ovshinsky

Lillian Hoddeson and Peter Garrett

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Inventing a Better Tomorrow:
The Life and Legacy of Stanford R. Ovshinsky

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Time: 4:00 pm | 330 Blum Hall

Stan and Iris Ovshinsky diagramming the hydrogen loop in the 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Stanford R. Ovshinsky.)
Stan and Iris Ovshinsky diagramming the hydrogen loop in the 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Stanford R. Ovshinsky.)

Stanford R. Ovshinsky (1922–2012) was described as, “the Edison of our age” by The Economist. Even this comparison fails to capture the full range of his achievements. As an independent, self-educated scientist and inventor, Ovshinsky made fundamental discoveries in material science and created innovative new products, many of which contributed to advances in solar energy and climate sustainability throughout Latin America and the world. The Man Who Saw Tomorrow is the first full-length biography of a visionary whose energy and information innovations continue to fuel our economy. 

Lillian Hoddeson is Professor Emerita of History and the Thomas Siebel Chair in the History of Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. 

Peter Garrett is Professor Emeritus of English and served as Director of the Unit for Criticism and Theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. 

“Stan Ovshinsky really did see tomorrow. The batteries that power our cell phones and car batteries all owe a debt to him, as do our flat-screen TVs and the solar panels on our roofs, which are coated in the thin films he pioneered. But what I admired him for most was his firm belief that inequity of all sorts could be solved by science, that science breaks down boundaries, increases opportunities, and builds bridges between diverse people and communities.” - Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab