One of the most pervasive inventions of modern history on which virtually ALL electrical/electronics is dependent is an invention by black inventor; OTIS BOYKIN.
Mr. Boykin is the inventor of the RESISTOR, a basic electrical component which can be found used in electrical equipment like Microwave ovens, clocks, computers, radios, TVs.
None of these products would be able to work without the use of Otis Boykin's resistor.
Few inventors have had the lasting impact of Otis Boykin. Look around the house today and you'll see a variety of devices that utilize components made by Boykin – including computers, radios and TV sets. Boykin's inventions are all the more impressive when one considers he was an African American in a time of segregation and the field of electronics was not as well-established as it is today.
Though he attended the Illinois Institute of Technology for a time, Otis Boykin never made it to graduation because he couldn't afford tuition. Instead, Boykin went to work as an inventor. He received his first patent in 1959 for a wire resistor that allowed a precise amount of electricity to flow to a component. Two year later, he created an even better resistor that could be manufactured inexpensively and withstand extreme temperature changes and shock. A low-cost product that was more reliable, the invention brought Otis Boykin to the forefront of American electronics.
Consumer electronics manufacturers, the United States military and IBM all placed orders for the resistor. It would come to be used in household appliances, computers and guided missiles – and is still used in many of those devices to this very day. But, perhaps most importantly, a version of his resistor was used in the invention of the pacemaker. That device, which keeps the heart beating regularly through electronic pulses, has helped to extend the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
And Otis Boykin's accomplishments didn't stop there. He continued to invent throughout the duration of his life (which ended in 1982), working as a consultant for firms in America and Europe. All in all, he earned 11 patents and invented 28 different electronic devices.
To observe how important and pervasive Mr. Boykin's resistor is used throughout all electronics, even the simple LED circuit below must use two resistors to work. A modern computer will literally use millions or perhaps billions of resistors. Why the basic resistor isn't mentioned in Nat'l Geo's list is telling since none of the listed electrical/electronics mentioned would be possible without the resistor.
Otis Bobby Boykin (August 29, 1920, Dallas, Texas – March 13, 1982, Chicago, Illinois) was an American inventor and engineer.
Otis Frank Boykin was born in 1920 in Dallas, Texas. His mother Sarah was a maid, who died when Otis was only a year old, of heart failure, which inspired him to make the control unit. His father Walter was a carpenter, who later became a minister. Otis Boykin attended Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas, where he was the valedictorian, graduating in 1938. He attended Fisk University on a scholarship and worked as a laboratory assistant at the university's nearby aerospace laboratory. He then moved to Chicago, where he studied at Illinois Institute of Technology but dropped out after two years; some sources say it was because he could not afford his tuition, but he later told Julia Scott Reed of the Dallas Morning News that he left for an employment opportunity and did not have time to return to finish his degree. He was discovered and mentored by Dr. Denton Deere, an engineer and inventor with his own laboratory.
He graduated from Fisk University in 1941 and got a job as a laboratory assistant, testing automatic aircraft controls. In 1944, he moved on to work for the P.J. Nilsen Research Labs in Illinois. Shortly thereafter, he started his own company, Boykin-Fruth Inc. The firm Boykin-Fruth, Inc., would collaborate on a number of projects.
Boykin patented 28 electronic devices. One of his early inventions was an improved wire resistor, which had reduced inductance and reactance, due to the physical arrangement of the wire. Other notable inventions include a variable resistor used in guided missiles and small component thick-film resistors for computers.
Boykin's most famous invention was likely a control unit for the artificial cardiac pacemaker. The device essentially uses electrical impulses to maintain a regular heartbeat.
Boykin died of a heart failure in Chicago in 1982.
Alan Emtage (born November 27, 1964) conceived and implemented the first version of "Archie,"
a pre-Web internet search engine for locating material in public FTP archives.
Alan Emtage was born in Barbados, the son of Sir Stephen and Lady Emtage. He attended high school at Harrison College from 1975 to 1983 (and in 1981 became the owner of a Sinclair ZX81 with 1K of memory), where he graduated at the top of his class, winning the Barbados Scholarship.
In 1983 Emtage entered McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, studying for an honors Bachelor's degree in computer science which was followed by a Master's degree in 1987 from which he graduated in 1991. Emtage was part of the team that brought the first Internet link to eastern Canada (and only the second link in the country) in 1986. In 1989 while a student and working as a systems administrator for the School of Computer Science, Emtage conceived and implemented the original version of the Archie search engine, the world's first Internet search engine.
In 1992, Emtage along with Peter J. Deutsch formed Bunyip Information Systems the world's first company expressly founded for and dedicated to providing Internet information services with a licensed commercial version of the Archie search engine.
Emtage was a founding member of the Internet Society and went on to create and chair several working groups at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the standard-setting body for the Internet. Working with other pioneers such as Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen, Mark McCahill (creator of Gopher) and Jon Postel, Emtage co-chaired the Uniform Resource Identifier working group which created the standard for Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).
Emtage has spoken and lectured on Internet Information Systems.
Emtage is chief technical officer at Mediapolis, a web engineering company in New York City.
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