To most people, the word inventor conjures up an Enlightenment figure or father of the Industrial Revolution toiling alone in his workshop or laboratory. But, of course, inventions did not just occur in the past. Our modern experience is defined by inventions that continue to bubble up at an ever-accelerating rate. No era can lay greater claim to invention than ours.
Tonight (December 6), our Office of Technology Commercialization honors two of UT’s greatest: Professor John Goodenough and Professor Adam Heller. I have invoked Dr. Goodenough’s development of the lithium-ion rechargeable battery numerous times while illustrating to audiences the synergy between teaching and discovery at a research university. Dr. Heller, who, coincidentally, is another pioneer of lithium batteries, is celebrated for his advances that have enabled millions of people with diabetes to monitor their condition painlessly. What a gift both professors have given the world.
I’d like to share a short video on these two faculty members with you.
Congratulations to professors Goodenough and Heller on their life-changing contributions to society. Tonight, 48 other faculty members who have received patents over the University’s last fiscal year also will be honored. I’m proud of all the University’s many inventors. It is never more evident than on occasions like this that what starts here changes the world.