“Climate Change: Upsetting the Balance of Nature”
Thomas Lovejoy, President
The Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment
“LIPA’s Role in Addressing Climate Change”
Kevin Law, Chairman
Long Island Power Authority
“Clean Technology for Transportation”
Joseph M. Ambrosio, Co-Founder and CTO
“An Action Agenda for Businesses, Governments, and NGOs”
Gerard A. "Duke" Dufresne, Sector Vice President, Airborne Early Warning and
Electronic Warfare Systems
Leadership in Sustainable Technology
Stanford Ovshinsky, President
Inventor, Scientist, and Entrepreneur
Presenter of Award
Congressman Steve Israel
Member, House Appropriations Committee
U.S. House of Representative
First Annual Leadership in Sustainable Technology Award Recipient
Stanford R. Ovshinsky, the son of a Lithuanian-born scrap-metal dealer, is a self-taught engineer, inventor, and physicist. During the Great Depression, he was forced to drop out of school to help support his family, but despite this early setback, he went on to become a successful mechanical and electrical engineer, and a prolific inventor.
He co-founded Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., with his wife, Iris. Their pioneering research in amorphous semiconductor materials revolutionized the materials used in semiconductors, solar cells, and electric cars. These substances are also used in photocopy machines, fax machines, and LCD displays. Ovshinsky’s inventions include thin-film photovoltaics, rewritable CDs and DVDs, and hydrogen storage systems.
In 1982, Ovshinsky invented small, powerful batteries made from alloys known as nickel metal hydrides. Each year, about 780 million NiMH batteries are made for computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices—mostly through licenses on Ovshinsky’s patents.
Ovshinsky has won numerous prizes for outstanding innovation in the United States and Europe. He holds about 350 patents, and is widely regarded as one of the most prolific
inventors in American history. In 1999, Time magazine named Ovshinsky a “Hero for the Planet,” in recognition of his pioneering work in sustainable energy technology.