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Date:  Jan. 5, 2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

DEVELOPERS OF LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY AND DESIGNERS OF INNOVATIVE CURRICULUM WIN 2012’S HIGHEST ENGINEERING HONORS   

 

WASHINGTON — The engineering profession's highest honors for 2012, presented by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), recognize ground-breaking contributions to the development of the modern liquid crystal display and achievements that led to a curriculum that encourages engineering leadership. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner event in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 21, 2012.

 

T. Peter Brody, George H. Heilmeier, Wolfgang Helfrich, and Martin Schadt will receive the Charles Stark Draper Prize — a $500,000 annual award that honors engineers whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society — “for the engineering development of the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) that is utilized in billions of consumer and professional devices.”

 

Clive L. Dym, M. Mack Gilkeson, and J. Richard Phillips will receive the Bernard M. Gordon Prize — a $500,000 award issued annually that recognizes innovation in engineering and technology education — “for creating and disseminating innovations in undergraduate engineering design education to develop engineering leaders.”  Half of each Gordon prize is awarded to the winner's institution to support the continued development, refinement, and dissemination of the recognized innovation.

 

“The engineers we are honoring have created windows through which people are learning about and shaping our world,” said NAE President Charles M. Vest. “The LCD is the human interface with much of today’s technology and information. Harvey Mudd College’s innovative teaching program is showing future leaders how to use engineering skills for the benefit of humankind.”

 

The Charles Stark Draper Prize

 

The liquid crystal display is used by virtually everyone in the modern world on a daily basis.  It is the medium through which people get information from a variety of everyday devices – including calculators, clocks, computer monitors, smart phones, and television screens.  T. Peter Brody, George H. Heilmeier, Wolfgang Helfrich, and Martin Schadt each made substantial contributions to its development.

 

George Heilmeier discovered the dynamic scattering mode (DSM), which resulted in the first operational LCD.  Liquid crystals are materials that have properties of both liquids and crystals.   DSM allows them to scatter light when a voltage is applied.  Shortly after Heilmeier’s discovery, DSM LCDs could be widely found in watches and calculators.

 

Taking cues from Heilmeier’s work, Wolfgang Helfrich and Martin Schadt invented the twisted nematic (TN) field effect of liquid crystal displays. Unlike the DSM, the twisted nematic field effect electrically controls the polarization state of transmitted light of LCDs. It requires virtually no power and small electric fields. The contrast of light is very large, allowing short switching from dark to bright and vice versa.  Helfrich and Schadt’s discovery of the TN allowed for the practical use of LCDs in nearly all of today’s flat panel LCD applications.

 

T. Peter Brody created the active matrix (AM) drive, which enabled an array of new capabilities for LCDs. Such capabilities consist of the display of high resolution motion pictures combined with fast response which are prerequisites for television. Brody’s AM LCD opened the door for further LCD advancements in television, including color filters and brightness-enhancement films. 

 

T. Peter Brody worked at Westinghouse, where he discovered the first active matrix displays. He later started his own firm, Panelvision, and then went on to become the president and CEO of Amedeo. In addition to his contributions to LCD technology, his numerous patents include a low-cost color filter process and a high-resolution printing process. Brody is also the co-founder of the Advantech in-line fabrication process, designed to create backplanes for the next generation of OLED displays. Brody passed away in September 2011; the award will be presented to his family.

 

George Heilmeier joined RCA in 1958 where he discovered the dynamic scattering- and a guest-host electro-optical effect in liquid crystals. After serving as a White House fellow at the U.S. Department of Defense, he was appointed Assistant Director for Defense Research and Engineering, Electronic and Physical Sciences. From 1974 to 1977, Heilmeier was the director of the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA). He then became senior vice president and chief technical officer at Texas Instruments. Heilmeier later served as the president and CEO of Bellcore, and eventually as chairman and chairman emeritus.

 

Wolfgang Helfrich, while at RCA, set up a theory of conduction-induced alignment of nematic liquid crystals as a first step towards a theory of dynamic scattering. In 1970 he joined Hoffmann-LaRoche where he and Martin Schadt began their cooperation. Afterwards he accepted a professorship at the Free University of Berlin. Since then his theoretical and experimental research centered on fluid bilayer membranes and their vesicles. . 

 

Martin Schadt patented the first organic light emitting display (OLED) in 1969 as a post doc fellow at Canada’s National Research Council. He then joined the Laboratoire Suisse de Recherche Horlogère at Neuchâtel of Omega. Two years later he became a member of the newly founded research group at the Central Research Center of Hoffmann-La Roche working on liquid crystal field-effects and LC-materials.  He was appointed head of the liquid crystal department inventing many new electro-optical effects, commercial liquid crystal materials and the photo-polymer liquid crystal alignment technology.  From 1994 he headed the spin-off company Rolic Ltd. as its CEO.  He is active as a scientific adviser to governments and industrial research groups. 

 

The Bernard M. Gordon Prize

 

The Harvey Mudd College Engineering program combines hands-on, experience-based learning, exemplified by its innovative Engineering Clinic, with formal design instruction in an approach aimed at creating engineering leaders.  The Engineering program, which also strongly emphasizes writing and presentations, continues to be innovative and has had a profound influence on other institutions and their curriculum. The College’s curriculum also includes the opportunity to teach K-12 students and a leadership strategy course in which students meet highly successful businesspeople. 

 

Clive L. Dym created the program’s formal design instruction and contributed to a hands-on studio component for the freshman projects class.  Dym also advocated the integration of the design and making of tools and prototypes into that class. This helped students learn about manufacturing and design and how to communicate about their work. Dym is the driving force behind the Mudd Design Workshops, which bring together a wide range of institutions to discuss engineering education and their shared experiences.  Dym is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Engineering Design and director of the Center for Design Education at Harvey Mudd College.

 

M. Mack Gilkeson is the co-inventor and co-founder of the Clinic program, a hands-on approach to teaching engineering in which small teams of students are given real-life design problems to solve from industry partners.  The program was controversial at its outset because this approach defied conventional wisdom and went very much counter to the then-prevailing thinking about engineering curricula.  Thus, while the Clinic program initially faced concerns, even some internally, Gilkeson and his colleagues proved it could work and it became a model for many other institutions. Gilkeson is Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Harvey Mudd College.

 

J. Richard Phillips was the Engineering Clinic director for 17 years and transitioned the Clinic into a sustainable program that is now integral to the overall Harvey Mudd Engineering curriculum. He also was directly involved in the establishment of Clinic programs in other colleges and universities. The program has now extended to other departments in the college, influencing fields outside of engineering as well. Phillips also was instrumental in the development of the Experimental Engineering Lab to give students a deeper and more intuitive grasp of concepts they learn in their theory classes. Phillips is Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Harvey Mudd College.

 

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The Draper Prize was established in 1988 at the request of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., Cambridge, Mass., to honor the memory of "Doc" Draper, the "father of inertial navigation," and to increase public understanding of the contributions of engineering and technology.  The prize is awarded annually.

 

The Gordon Prize was established in 2001 as a biennial prize recognizing new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders.  Recognizing the potential to spur a revolution in engineering education, NAE announced in 2003 that the prize would be awarded annually.

 

The National Academy of Engineering is an independent, nonprofit institution.  Its members consist of the nation's premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for seminal contributions to engineering.  The academy provides leadership and guidance to government on the application of engineering resources to social, economic, and security problems.  Established in 1964, NAE operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.

 

For additional information about any of the prizes, contact Deborah Young, NAE awards administrator, at 202-334-1266 or e-mail dyoung@nae.edu, or Randy Atkins, NAE senior media relations officer at 202-334-1508 or e-mail atkins@nae.edu.  Visit the NAE awards site at http://www.nae.edu/awards.

 

 

Contacts: 

Randy Atkins, Senior Media Relations Officer

202-334-1508; e-mail atkins@nae.edu

Nicole Flores, Program Associate for Media Relations

202-334-2226; e-mail nflores@nae.edu

National Academy of Engineering