The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) established the National Inventors Hall of Fame as an outreach program that highlights historic, groundbreaking U.S. patents that have had a significant impact. The Hall of Fame searches for these inspirational inventors and accepts nominations throughout the year. While nominees can be anyone, living or dead, from any country, the only condition they must meet is that they have a U.S. patent. Each year, a selection committee chooses six to 10 living and four to six posthumous inductees whose inventions have profoundly affected our society and our economy.

This year’s inductees into the Hall of Fame include:

  • Mary Engle Pennington, the first female lab chief at the FDA, whose patent detailed techniques for food preservation.
  • Howard S. Jones, Jr., an engineer and scientist and chief of microwave research with the U.S. Department of the Army, whose patent revolutionized antennas for military and spacecraft guidance.
  • Ching Wan Tang and Steven Van Slyke, chemists at Eastman Kodak at the time of their patent, who pioneered the organic light emitting diode (OLED), which advanced flat screen displays found in all our electronics today.

Read about the other inspiring 2018 inductees here.