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Stanford Ovshinsky photo

Stanford R. Ovshinsky Bio

Stanford R. Ovshinsky is the co-founder of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD), the company he founded in 1960 with his late wife Iris Ovshinsky.  He is the primary inventor of ECD's technology including the Ovonic thin-film photovoltaic technology and its continuous web multi-junction roll-to-roll machine, the Ovonic NiMH battery, the Ovonic hydrogen technology as well as Ovonic Universal Memory (OUM), also known as Phase Change Memory (PCM) which is receiving much positive attention from the semiconductor industry.  He began the field of nanostructures for a large number of applications in the early 1950s.  He has formed an independent new company called Ovshinsky Solar LLC, a wholly owned division of Ovshinsky Innovation LLC, in order to accelerate his work in energy and information that will lead to basic solutions for pollution, climate change gases and wars over oil.  His objective now is to make photovoltaics at a lower cost than burning fossil fuel.

He has approximately 400 U.S. patents and is the author of over 300 scientific papers ranging from neurophysiology to amorphous semiconductors.  He serves on various scientific, educational and civic boards and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Diesel Gold Medal for Invention presented by German Inventors Association (Deutscher Erfinderverband) in recognition of his invention of the semiconductor switching effect in disordered and amorphous materials (1968); the Coors American Ingenuity Award, honoring "individuals who are changing, forever, the face of American business," given for his Ovonic solar cells which help provide the world's energy needs "as well as a host of other practical uses" (1988); the Toyota Award for Advancement for his development of the Ovonic nickel-metal hydride batteries for electric vehicles (1991); the Karl W. Böer Solar Energy Medal of Merit, awarded jointly by the University of Delaware and the International Solar Energy Society (1999); the International Association for Hydrogen Energy (IAHE) Sir William Grove Award (June 2000); the American Solar Energy Society Hoyt Clarke Hottel Award (July 2004) for "significant contribution to the advancement of solar energy technologies"; inducted into the US-based Solar Hall of Fame for 2005; The 2005 Innovation Award for Energy and the Environment by The Economist and for "his pioneering work in the development of the high-powered NiMH battery"; the Frederick Douglass/Eugene V. Debs Award (November 2006); the 2007 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation awarded by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society (November 2007); the Environmental Hall of Fame 2008 Award in the Solar Energy Field, Solar Thin Film Category as Father of Thin-Film Solar Energy; the Engineering Society of Detroit Lifetime Achievement Award (2008); and the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society Presidential Citation (2009).  In 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois; and Doctor Honoris Causa from Ovidius University of Constanta, Constanta, Romania.

Stan Ovshinsky was inducted into the Michigan Chemical Engineering Hall of Fame (1983) and named Michigan Scientist of the Year by Impression 5 Science Museum (1987).  He was profiled in a one-hour PBS program on NOVA entitled "Japan's American Genius" (1987), named the Corporate Detroiter of the Year by Corporate Detroit Magazine (1993), and named "Hero for the Planet" by Time magazine (1999).  He and his wife, Iris, were named Heroes of Chemistry 2000 by the American Chemical Society for "advances in electrochemical, energy storage and energy generation, including the development of Ovonic nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries, regenerative fuel cells, solid hydrogen storage system, and amorphous silicon photovoltaics" and for having "made significant and lasting contributions to global human welfare."  He was profiled in Inventing Modern America: From the Microwave to the Mouse, published by MIT Press in association with Lemelson-MIT Program (December 2001), as one of the 35 American Inventors over the past century "who helped to shape the modern world."  The Stanford R. Ovshinsky Award for Excellence in Non-Crystalline Chalcogenides was established in 2001 to honor Stan Ovshinsky's pioneering work in the field of Non-Crystalline Chalcogenides.  Three festschrifts in honor of Stan Ovshinsky's 80th birthday were dedicated to him (November 24, 2002).  Interviewed in the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?"  His nickel metal hydride batteries enabled the creation of the electric and hybrid cars.   A volume of his papers since 1985, "The Science and Technology of an American Genius: Stanford R. Ovshinsky," edited by Hellmut Fritzsche and Brian Schwartz, was published by World Scientific Publishing, Singapore (2008).  Oral history interview for The Henry Ford education initiative, OnInnovation,, (2009). 

He is a fellow of the American Physical Society "for his contributions to the understanding, applications and development of amorphous electronic materials and devices," the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is a member of the College of Fellows, Engineering Society of Detroit.  He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; a member of Sigma Xi; a life member of the Society of Automotive Engineers; member of the Consulting Board of the Journal of Optoelectronics and Advanced Materials; a member of the American Chemical Society; a member of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics, University of Michigan.