University of Florida computer graphics pioneer and chemistry professor among 2019 inductees into Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

A University of Florida alumnus who co-founded the computer graphics company NVIDIA and a chemistry professor who invented a groundbreaking analytical instrument that is used daily in drug development are among the newest members of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Chris Malachowsky, an alumnus of UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, was selected for inventing the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) that transformed the visual computing industry by creating a consumer-oriented 3D graphics market. Under Malachowsky’s leadership NVIDIA has evolved the GPU into a computer brain that intersects virtual reality, high performance computing and artificial intelligence. He holds 35 U.S. patents.

“Chris Malachowsky embodies the attributes of a hall of fame inventor: creativity, leadership, integrity, professional excellence, and service to the local, state and global community,” said UF engineering Dean Cammy Abernathy. “He remains firmly committed to the success of his alma mater and has been particularly pivotal in helping the college craft a vision around the coming 4th Industrial Revolution, which will help to position not only the university but the state of Florida as a leader in the creation of high tech innovation and jobs.”

Chemistry Professor Richard Yost was selected for his invention of the triple quadrupole mass spectrometer, a groundbreaking analytical instrument that is used daily in drug development, disease testing, food safety and environmental studies. He holds 13 U.S. patents.

“Dr. Yost's research at UF, building on his invention of the triple quadrupole, has transformed tandem mass spectrometry from a niche research area, largely for fundamental chemistry studies, into a practical, widely available analytical technique,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “Rarely has one invention or discovery in chemistry led to such a dramatic impact on human wellness and life, including the people of the State of Florida, as the triple quadrupole mass spectrometer.”

Other members of this year’s class are:

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000): Hollywood icon, tinkerer and self-taught inventor, Lamarr retired to Miami Beach, Florida in 1981, and later moved to Central Florida, where she spent her final days. At the age of 28, Lamarr invented the Secret Communication System, which is the foundation for frequency-hopping spread spectrum technologies and the basis for countless wireless communication technologies, including Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth and has spawned significant advances in cybersecurity.

Michael Bass: Professor Emeritus at University of Central Florida, selected for his significant inventions in the area of optics and spectroscopy that have optimized the use of lasers and optical systems, aiding in the treatment of major diseases and improving the design of the world’s fiber optic communication system.

Joanna Fowler, a native Floridian and University of South Florida alum who was selected for her transformative research that enabled the use of molecular imaging to more accurately identify and treat illnesses ranging from drug addiction to cancer.

Thomas Lipo, a research professor at Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems in Tallahassee, selected for his pioneering innovations in the field of electrical machinery and power electrics that improved the technology that runs subway cars as well as paved the way for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Alan List, CEO and president of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, selected for his dedication to understanding cancer biology and developing novel therapeutic strategies for treating hematologic malignancies such as myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myelocytic leukemia.

Luther George Simjian (1905-1997), a prolific inventor and pioneer in the concept of automated teller machines, selected for his many accomplishments, including simulation training systems used by the military and theme parks.

All will be inducted at the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame 6th Annual Induction Ceremony & Gala on Sep. 20, 2019, at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

“We are delighted to announce this outstanding class of inventors whose work has had enormous impact on the state of Florida and our nation,” said Paul R. Sanberg, chair of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board and senior vice president for research, innovation and knowledge enterprise at the University of South Florida. “Collectively, the 2019 inductees hold more than 340 U.S. patents.”

Nominees, who must have at least one U.S. patent and a connection to Florida, were nominated through an open nomination process and elected by a selection committee comprising distinguished leaders in research and innovation throughout Florida. 

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Joe Kays March 26, 2019