James Lee Fergason (January 12, 1934 – December 9, 2008) was an American inventor and enterprise entrepreneur. A member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Fergason is finest identified for his work on an improved Liquid Crystal Display, or LCD. He held over 100 U.S. patents on the time of his loss of life.
Fergason died at age 74.[where?] He was survived by his spouse Dora and their 4 youngsters, Teresa, Jeffrey, John and Susan, and his 11 grandchildren.
In 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Missouri, in 2006 he was the recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Prize, in 2007 he was awarded the David Richardson Medal by the Optical Society of America, and in 2008 he acquired the Jun-Ichi Nishizawa Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Twisted nematic liquid crystal shows had been superior to the sooner dynamic scattering shows, and shortly grew to become widespread. The know-how was patented within the United States by Fergason in 1971. He shaped his personal firm, ILIXCO, in 1968 to fabricate liquid crystal shows. His first prospects had been the Bulova Watch Company and Gruen Watch Company which used the know-how to market the primary LCD watches utilizing this know-how. By the tip of the last decade, a lot of the world’s digital watches used this sort of LCD. Fergason held over 150 patents within the United States and over 500 international patents. He additionally was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2001, he based Fergason Patent Properties, which managed licensing of his patents.
In June 1966, Fergason joined the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University as its affiliate director. Here, in 1969, he made his seminal discovery of a low-power, field-operated LC show, generally known as the twisted nematic cell, and acquired a patent.(U.S. Patent 3,731,986) There was an issue about this invention. The inventors Martin Schadt and Wolfgang Helfrich of Hoffmann-La Roche had filed a Swiss patent utility for a similar invention at an earlier worldwide precedence date than Fergason in 1970. However, a US patent was granted to Fergason as a consequence of a predated US patent pocket book entry in 1970. All three had been awarded the IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal in 2008 for this invention. Also at LCI, Fergason was a part of an effort to make use of cholesteric liquid crystals for thermal mapping, particularly, to display screen for breast most cancers. He participated within the discovery of smectic C liquid crystal part.
After his discharge from the Army, Fergason was employed by Westinghouse Research Laboratories in Pennsylvania. At Westinghouse he started groundbreaking work with cholesteric liquid crystals, forming the primary industrial analysis group into the sensible makes use of of the know-how. For this work Fergason earned his first patent (U.S. Patent 3,114,836) in 1963. Among the later makes use of for his analysis and first patent had been the Nineteen Seventies popular culture icon the temper ring, and the Liquid crystal thermometer.
Following his commencement from Carrollton High School in 1952 he enrolled on the University of Missouri, incomes a Bachelor’s Degree in physics in 1956. Fergason married his spouse Dora the week after commencement from Mizzou, then reported for a quick tour of obligation as a second lieutenant with the United States Army in Texas.
He was educated in a one-room schoolhouse till the seventh grade when his household moved to the county seat of Carrollton. The Fergason household had one thing of a popularity for academic over achievement. One grandfather graduated from school at age fifteen, whereas two of Fergason’s older brothers studied chemical engineering and electrical engineering respectively. A cousin was an agricultural engineer who had over 100 patents for his equipment innovations.
James Lee “Jim” Fergason was born on a farm close to the small city of Wakenda, Carroll County, Missouri.