Stanford R. Ovshinsky, a self-taught, inventive genius who revolutionized the field of semiconductors, died of prostate cancer on Wednesday at the age of 89.
Though he never went to college, Ovshinsky invented the nickel-metal hybrid battery and helped develop solar energy panels, rewritable CDs, and flat-panel displays. The Economist once called him "the Edison of our age." He was an early advocate of alternative energy and was one of the first to champion hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to the internal-combustion engine.
In April 1978, PopSci published a story about "Ovshinsky's strange devices": semiconductors made from glass that could overturn the rules of solid-state physics. Read on for an excerpt.
Read the full story in our April 1978 issue.
I thought Tesla was the man - not Einstein. So he is the Tesla of our time.
I'd call him a scammer as he left many investors and customers in both NiMH and PV with poor to useless products.
I had to deal with these customers by replacing his poorly designed, built solar and batteries because they just wouldn't last.
It took others to make them actually work like Panasonic, Gold Peak and First Solar.
The worst was his selling the NiMh patents to Chevron who forced makers to stop making EV size units and only letting 10amphr units be made, thus sdtopping EV's until lithium was developed enough.
His multiple PV companies never had vaiable products so he shut them down leaving customers, dealers and investors holding the bag while he took off with the money.
For those who did business with him he will not be missed.
I'm pretty sure the subtitle should say Nickel Metal Hydride, not Nickel Metal Hybrid -- although, the batteries are used in hybrid cars.
He was an inventor and scientist,he developed the theories and inventions that no one else could. Most new inventions are not meant for use by the masses as they have to be further refined. If your dumb enough to buy prototypes, or even relatively new products and expect the results of a developed product then that's your mistake. It's not like anyone would throw the first electric engine prototype in their car and then raise hell over how crappy it is.
My wife met him about 5 years ago. Stan gave her and her classmates a tour of his facilities in Michigan. He spoke and bragged more about his wife (who was by his side during the tour) than any of his inventions. He was a great man in every definition.
I can only imagine it would be so fasinating to hear Stanford R. Ovshinsky speak.