19 , 2004 The
solid hydrogen storage system Stan and Iris Ovshinsky showed
Alan at the Challenge Bibendum is just one of the many inventions
to come out of their partnership.
the 1950s, Stan Ovshinsky has been a pioneer in the new field
of disordered materials, which utilizes the properties of
substances that don't have the ordered structure of a crystal,
for instance.The Ovshinkys founded Energy Conversion Devices
to develop disordered materials technology and to figure out
how to use the technology to solve serious societal problems.
They decided to concentrate their efforts on questions of
energy production and storage. Hundreds of patents, five children
and 45-years later, they are still at it:
an interview with Stan and Iris and check out a
list of Ovshinsky's inventions.
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AMERICAN FRONTIERS: Working as a team is not usually the
easiest. How do you make it work?
By being in love I think.
We're very, very lucky because many people over the years
have sort of said to us, "Oh my God I couldn't work with my
wife, etcetera. How do you do it?" And we just like to be
just work together in everything. And there's just Stan-Iris,
It works out wonderfully well. We're continuously talking
things over. I'm the inventor, and Iris is a wonderful contributor,
and she's very wise, makes some good suggestions…. She has
her Ph.D. in biochemistry. I couldn't do it without her. Nor
could I have achieved the things we did without her. It's
just been a great experience, a great life, not only fulfilling
as an inventor, but as a way of living.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS:
That's a very inspirational picture that you paint. What about
your personalities do you think is important in your pairing
and also that makes you successful as an inventing team?
and Iris standing in front of 30 MW machine which
is longer than a football field.
I think the fact that we share common values. Iris is so bright
that I can talk to her about anything and then-- I'm able
to address the things that I need to have in hand. We work
every day including weekends, doing things that fit into our
work. And we work at night when we can, and come home from
work here. We're fortunate that we're only about six minutes
from our labs.
As Stan said, the shared values are so important. We founded
ECD with the express purpose of using science and technology
to solve serious societal problems. And both of us are dedicated
to that, and that's why everything we've done has been to
make for a better environment and better life for people.
Therefore it's never been argumentative or debating in the
way people might do. I love criticisms from her. We just work
together in everything. And there's just Stan-Iris, or Iris-Stan.
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Photo of Stan and Iris: Eikoh Hosoe