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AWIS in Action! January 2013 - NIHF
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AWIS In Action!

 Advocacy & Public Policy Newsletter   ~   January 2013
In This Issue
Celebration of Imagination
Look around the room and try to identify how many products contained within it have at some point been protected by a patent. Consider the computer before you, the tape dispenser, your cell phone, the lighting, and then reflect on how many different patented items are used to construct each one. Even the decorative martini glass on my shelf is patented. Intellectual property surrounds us all day but most people never think about it, despite the recent heavy emphasis on its role.
In order to celebrate the innovative spirit, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) was created to highlight the achievements of those whose ideas have benefitted humanity or helped progress science or the arts. The NIHF is organized and run by a great foundation called Invent Now. In addition to maintaining the NIHF, this group runs a variety of programs to get youth involved in innovation, from summer school programs and charter schools, to a competition for collegiate inventors.
Each year a new class of inventors is inducted at a ceremony in May. The innovations voted upon this year range from those that capture the imagination, a plane propelled by a bicycle for example, to those that fill an existing need in everyday life, such as the Roto-Rooter. The inventions ran the gamut from functional to frivolous, including the original model for a calculator (those who grew up with slide rules couldn’t stress the emphasis of this development enough!), the technology for stabilizing helicopters, the plane enabling tourists to take trips into space, the chemical compound used in polyester clothing, the videogame "Pong”, and the synthesizer. The inventions are honored at the NIHF located in the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA, and the newest round of winners will be announced in February. We will give you a hint though, there won’t be any women or minorities inducted as there weren’t any on the list of inductees this year. That is because there weren’t any on the nomination list.
AWIS is honored to be repeatedly invited to participate in this celebration of imagination, science, and the human spirit. Our participation this year is particularly poignant as we have been focused via different projects on ways to improve the process of nomination and recognition via the AWARDS project as well as focusing on innovation within the university setting. Our goals are to remind and educate the other panelists of the importance of diversity in inspiring future generations and recommend ways they can broaden their candidate pool. However, by the time we come to the table to vote, the list of nominees has been put together. If women and minorities aren’t nominated, they cannot be inducted and thus never serve as role models who inform future generations that great ideas come from everyone, not just older white gentlemen. The NIHF is looking to broaden the diversity of their group and accept nominations from the public, so if you know a great candidate please submit a nomination. We look forward to a more diverse list of nominees to select from next year!  


In This Issue


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