The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
Lemelson Institute

Places of Invention:
The First Lemelson Institute

Organized by the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation

Lemelson Archives, Incline Village, Nevada

16-18 August 2007

» From the director
» Executive summary
» Mission & goals
» Setting the stage
The legacy of Jerome Lemelson
Getting the inventive juices flowing
The role of an inventor's style on places of invention
The power of place
» Framing the task
» Overview of research on places of invention
» Examining places of invention
Creative people: the people/place nexus
Creative places: the people/place nexus
Creating places of invention: regions and new spaces
Creating places of invention: adapting existing spaces
» Making ideas concrete: public dissemination
» Findings
» Participants
» Agenda
» Acknowledgments
» About the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
» About the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
»Appendix 1: "Places of Invention" syllabus (PDF)
»Appendix 2: "Astronomical Places of Invention" (PDF)

  • Merton C. Flemings, Lemelson-MIT Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
    Merton Flemings is professor of materials processing and faculty director of the Lemelson-MIT Program in invention and innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1956. In addition to teaching and research, he has served as founder and first director of the Materials Processing Center at MIT, as head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and as MIT Director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance. He is co-inventor, with students and co-workers, of 31 U.S. patents in the areas of processing and manufacturing. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Peter Friess, Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, Calif.
    Peter Friess, president of the Tech Museum of Innovation since 2006, is charged with driving the content, programs, and Silicon Valley business and education partnerships essential to “inspiring the innovator in everyone.” He has extensive museum experience, having helped create and then direct the Deutsches Museum Bonn, and having run projects for the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Bavarian National Museum. Friess‚ a master clockmaker‚ received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich with a dissertation on art and technology. In 2001, Bavaria’s State Chancellor asked Friess to build up the Agency for Media and Communication Technology in Germany, California, and India in order to attract foreign businesses to Bavaria, Germany. Since 2003, Friess has been Secretary General of the Fondazione Parmenides of Elba, Italy.
  • Fred H. Gage, Laboratory of Genetics, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif.
    Fred H. Gage, Adler Professor in the Laboratory of Genetics, joined the Salk Institute in 1995. He received his Ph.D. in 1976 from Johns Hopkins University. Gage’s work concentrates on the adult central nervous system and its unexpected plasticity and adaptability to environmental stimulation. In addition, his studies focus on the cellular, molecular, and environmental influences that regulate neurogenesis in the adult brain and spinal cord. Prior to joining Salk, Gage was professor of neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Gage also served as president of the Society for Neuroscience in 2002 and has been the recipient of prestigious awards, among them the 1993 Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health and Education, the Christopher Reeve Research Medal in 1997, the 1999 Max Planck Research Prize, and the MetLife Award in 2002.
  • Saul T. Griffith, Makani Power Inc., Alameda, Calif.
    Saul Griffith is an MIT alumnus with multiple degrees in materials engineering and mechanical engineering. He completed his Ph.D. at the MIT Media Laboratory in 2004 on self-replicating hardware and the role and limits of information and state in the self-assembly of complex structure. While at MIT Griffith cofounded Low Cost Eyeglasses, a company using two novel technologies to provide prescription eye care at low cost for rural and developing communities. While at MIT, with Joost Bonsen and Nick Dragotta, he also started Howtoons, an alternative curriculum for hands-on-science and engineering illustrated in playful cartoons. A deep interest in the use of social networks for engineering and design led Griffith to cofound Thinkcycle and Instructables, experimental platforms for enabling open-source approaches to developing physical objects. Griffith’s principal research focus is in new multifunctional materials and in minimum and constrained energy surfaces for novel manufacturing techniques. His seemingly broad array of interests stems from the past 40 years of developments in logic theory, software, and documentation that enable new ways to look at the way we build and manufacture things. Griffith is the recipient of 2007 MacArthur Fellowship.
  • Lillian Hoddeson, History Department, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.
    Lillian Hoddeson is professor of history at the University of Illinois. The author or editor of eight books and many articles, she teaches courses on the history of science and technology, oral history, and memory. Her books (most of them with collaborators) include a history of the transistor (Crystal Fire), a biography of John Bardeen (True Genius), and a history of the atomic bomb (Critical Assembly). A new book (in press) treats “megascience” as it evolved at Fermilab. Presently she is at work on a biography of Stanford Ovshinsky, an independent American inventor of alternative energy technologies; a monograph on oral history and human memory; and a history of the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. Hoddeson is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Center for Advanced Study at Illinois, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
  • Robert Kargon, Department of History of Science and Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
    Robert Kargon is the Willard K. Shepard Professor of the history of science at Johns Hopkins University, and a co-organizer of the Lemelson Institute. Trained at Duke, Yale, and Cornell, he is the author and editor of Science in Victorian Manchester, The Rise of Robert Millikan, and Atomism in England from Hariot to Newton, and has recently completed (with Arthur Molella) Invented Edens: Technocities of the 20th Century (in press). In recent years he has been examining “knowledge for use,” especially in science regions such as Silicon Valley and Route 128, Boston; science and technology in cities; and science in institutions of higher learning.
  • Stuart W. Leslie, Department of History of Science and Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
    Stuart W. Leslie has taught the history of technology at Johns Hopkins University since 1981. His publications include a biography of inventor and automotive engineer Charles “Boss” Kettering and a study of American science and engineering education in the cold war. He has also written a series of articles (many coauthored with Robert Kargon) on the geography of innovation. His most recent work includes studies of laboratory design and architecture, including projects by Eero Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Louis Kahn, intended to culminate in a book about “How Laboratories Learn,” and a road book about American industrial and deindustrial history focusing on ten towns from Lowell to San Jose, titled “We Can’t Make It Here Anymore: A Road Trip through Deindustrial America.”
  • Jennifer S. Light, School of Communication, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
    Jennifer S. Light is associate professor of communication studies, history and sociology, and faculty associate at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. She received an A.B. in history and literature and Ph.D. in history of science from Harvard University, and also holds an M.Phil. in history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University, where she was the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar. Light works on historical and contemporary issues raised by the intersection of new technologies and urban life. She is the author of From Warfare to Welfare: Defense Intellectuals and Urban Problems in Cold War America (2003, 2005), and journal articles in publications including Journal of the American Planning Association, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, New Media and Society, and Technology and Culture. Light's recent research has been awarded grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. She will spend 2007–2008 at the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT.
  • Marc J. Pachter, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    Marc Pachter, a cultural historian with a particular interest in biography, is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Pachter, who first joined the Portrait Gallery’s staff in 1974 as chief historian and assistant director, has been responsible for a $30 million fundraising campaign that ensures that Gilbert Stuart’s “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington remains on permanent display; the creation of the first national portrait competition; and the restoration of the National Portrait Gallery’s magnificent National Historic Landmark building. From 1990 to 1994, Pachter was the Smithsonian’s deputy assistant secretary for external affairs, overseeing Smithsonian magazine, Smithsonian Institution Press, and membership and development programs. Later, he was appointed counselor to the Secretary of the Smithsonian, overseeing electronic media issues, chairing the Institution’s 150th anniversary, and facilitating key international partnerships. In 1999, he was awarded the Secretary’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Service. From November 2001 until January 2003, he also directed the National Museum of American History. Pachter has been a frequent commentator for CBS Nightwatch, the Voice of America, and C-SPAN, and has authored or edited a number of books, including Abroad in America: Visitors to the New Nation; Champions of American Sport; Documentary History of the Supreme Court; and Telling Lives: The Biographer’s Art. [note: Marc Pachter retired from the Smithsonian in January 2008.]
  • Birgit Binner, thema gestaltung, San Jose, Calif.
    Graphic designer Birgit Binner studied at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd in Germany, a school that builds on the traditions of the Bauhaus, and received her diploma in design in 1990. In 1993 Binner opened her own design firm in Munich, called “thema gestaltung.” She focuses on cultural projects related to industry, museums, and foundations. Her clients have included Bayer AG, the Deutsches Museum Bonn, and the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center, for which she designed the exhibition, Nobel Voices: One Hundred Years of the Nobel Prize. This traveling exhibition has been seen across the United States and in Europe, India, and Mexico. In 2006 thema gestaltung moved from Germany to Silicon Valley to unite Binner’s interests in good design and new technologies. She also teaches at the university level to share her knowledge with the next generation of graphic designers.
  • Brent Glass, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington. D.C.
    Brent D. Glass joined the Smithsonian Institution as director of the National Museum of American History Behring Center in December 2002. A leading public historian, Glass received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Glass served as executive director of the North Carolina Humanities Council (1983–1987) and as executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (1987–2002), the largest public history program in the nation. He has served on the U.S. National Historical Publications and Records Commission and on the council of the American Association for State and Local History. He is a member of the Flight 93 Memorial Commission. His research interests include architectural and urban history; the history of industry and technology; and the history of memorials, museums, and historic sites.
  • Joseph N. Tatarewicz, Department of History, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Md.
    Joseph Tatarewicz is associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and director of its Human Context of Science and Technology program. He holds an M.A. degree in Philosophy from Catholic University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University. He is the author of Space Technology and Planetary Astronomy (1990) and Exploring the Solar System: The Planetary Sciences Since Galileo (forthcoming), as well as articles and reviews for professional journals and publications in the history of science, technology, and policy. He is a contributor to The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology, and Politics (1989, 1993).
  • Phil Weilerstein, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, Hadley, Mass.
    Phil Weilerstein, executive director of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, began his career as an entrepreneur while still a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts. Along with classmates and an advisor, he launched a start-up biotech company which eventually went public. This experience, followed by several other entrepreneurial ventures, brought him a lifelong passion for entrepreneurship, which he has lived out through his work with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. As an entrepreneur in a nonprofit organization, he has grown the NCIIA from a grassroots group of enthusiastic faculty to a nationally known and in-demand knowledge base and resource center.
  Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution:
  • Joyce Bedi, senior historian
    Joyce Bedi has served as the Lemelson Center's senior historian and webmaster since 1995. She is the coeditor, with Arthur Molella, of Inventing for the Environment, published by the MIT Press in 2003, and has also authored publications and exhibits on the work of Harold Edgerton in stroboscopic photography. Before coming to the Smithsonian, Bedi held research and curatorial positions at the MIT Museum, the IEEE History Center, the Edison National Historic Site, and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (now the Powerhouse Museum) in Sydney, Australia. She is an adjunct faculty member in history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
  • Benjamin Bloom, new media specialist
    Benjamin Bloom produces Web sites and the podcast series “Prototype Online: Inventive Voices,” for the Lemelson Center. His past work includes online exhibitions and educational Web sites for the National Museum of American History and the Minnesota Historical Society. [note: Ben Bloom left the Lemelson Center in September 2007.]
  • Claudine Klose, deputy director
    Claudine Klose has been with the Lemelson Center since its inception in 1995 and at the Smithsonian for more than twenty-five years. She has been responsible for finance, personnel, and day-to-day operations, overseeing development of two traveling exhibitions and a dynamic series of programs and educational initiatives. Prior to her work with the Center, she was project manager for Science in American Life and Information Age, two multimillion dollar long-term exhibitions at the National Museum of American History, and has held positions on many smaller exhibition projects at the Museum. [note: Claudine Klose retired from the Lemelson Center in October 2007.]
  • Arthur Molella, Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Director
    Arthur Molella received his Ph.D. in the history of science from Cornell University and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from Westminster University, London. He served as head curator of the Smithsonian’s Science in American Life exhibition and co-curator of the international exhibition, Nobel Voices. He has written widely on the relation of science, technology, and culture and on the politics of science museums and displays. He has just completed a book, Invented Edens: Techno-cities of the 20th Century, written with Robert Kargon, to be published by MIT Press in 2008.
  The Lemelson Foundation:
  • Dorothy Ginsburg Lemelson, chair
    Dorothy Lemelson founded the Lemelson Foundation with her husband, Jerry, one of the world’s most prolific inventors. Today, Dorothy Lemelson is fostering the couple’s dream of encouraging and supporting America’s next generation of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs. In addition to her work with the Lemelson Foundation, Dorothy also heads the Lemelson Education and Assistance Program (LEAP). From her residence in Incline Village, Nevada, she both funds and directs this program that was originally intended as a catalyst to improve public education in her community. LEAP has since expanded its outreach to include scholarships, grants to individual schools, and special programs designed to help provide opportunities for at-risk students to thrive and learn. Prior to pursuing her philanthropic interests, Dorothy was a successful interior designer and owner of Dorothy Ginsberg Associates in New Jersey.
  • Eric Lemelson, co-vice president and treasurer
    Winemaker Eric Lemelson has always followed in the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of his family. During a year off from law school, he followed his intuition and purchased a small farm bordering the wine-growing region in Yamhill County, Oregon. One afternoon, he met noted winemaker Dick Ponzi, who offered to buy grapes if Eric would plant a vineyard on his property. He spent the spring and summer of 1995 tending his two-acre vineyard and loving the work. By the next summer, he was out in the fields preparing to plant another thirty acres of pinot noir, and Lemelson Vineyards was on its way. Prior to attending law school, Lemelson worked as a campaign staffer on local, state, and national political campaigns, and as a legislative aide. He received his J.D. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College, with a special focus on Western water law. Following law school, he directed a research center focused on Pacific Northwest water policy and aquatic biodiversity issues. He is also a board member of several Pacific Northwest environmental organizations.
  • Jennifer Bruml Lemelson, member, Board of Directors
    Jennifer Lemelson received her B.A. in Art History from Boston University and continues to pursue her artistic passions as a sometime potter. Lemelson Vineyards keeps her busy with ongoing special events, and her commitment to the rural community in which they live is partially fulfilled with her position as a board member of CASA, a nonprofit organization committed to the welfare of children in the area.
  • Robert Lemelson, co-vice president and secretary
    Rob Lemelson is an anthropologist who received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology, UCLA. He is currently a lecturer in the departments of anthropology and psychology at UCLA. He was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia in 1996-1997, has conducted research for the World Health Organization, and is additionally trained as a clinical psychologist. His area of specialty is Southeast-Asian studies, psychological anthropology, and transcultural psychiatry. He is also the president and founder of The Foundation for Psychocultural Research, a nonprofit research foundation supporting research and training in the neurosciences and social sciences.
  • Susan Morse, member, Board of Directors
    Susan Morse is an architect and painter who received her M.A. from the Division of Social Sciences, University of Chicago, with a focus on public policy. She worked in the field of educational policy before turning to architecture. She earned her Masters in Architecture (M.Arch.) from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) and is currently the design principal of SML Design Studio.
  • Julia Novy-Hildesley, executive director
    With a team of advisors and staff, Julia Novy-Hildesley develops and implements The Foundation’s domestic and international programs and oversees Foundation operations. She has previously served as the director of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) California office, conducted research on economic alternatives to slash and burn agriculture in Madagascar as a Fulbright Scholar, held positions with USAID and the World Bank, and has worked with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in Tanzania, Bolivia, and French Polynesia. Novy-Hildesley earned a master of philosophy in international development from the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University in the United Kingdom, and a bachelor’s degree in human biology with a minor in African studies from Stanford University, where she was named Phi Beta Kappa. Novy-Hildesley serves on the John F. Kennedy School of Government Women’s Leadership Board and is a fellow of the Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program.

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