National Inventors Hall of Fame – 2009 Inductees


OK, ladies. Take a look at this listing. See if our gender is … um … underrepresented. The one gender-ambiguous name is Jean Hoerni (1924-1997) … and Jean was a he.

I find the lack of women on the 2009 National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees’ list somewhat disturbing; I’m not sure what trend or trends it displays. Should women complain? And, if we should, to whom should we speak? To the judges at the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame? Or to the teachers who traditionally encourage girls to head toward the softer sciences and the humanities while steering boys toward engineering and hard sciences?

In prior years, women have been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, but the gender ratio leans heavily toward men in every year.

I find it hard to believe that women don’t change the world as much as men do. A woman invented:

  • the first electronic telephone central office (US Patent No. 3,623,007);
  • wrinkle-free cotton (US Patent No. 3,432,252)
  • adjustable bed lamps (US Patent No. 1,750,993)

Each of these, and many, many other, inventions changed the world in its own art.

I’d like to see one year (or maybe one year per decade) when one of the requirements for induction into the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame is two X chromosomes.