Victor B. Lawrence
Victor B. Lawrence

Ghanaian born electrical engineer Victor B. Lawrence is to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Victor B. Lawrence
Victor B. Lawrence

Victor B. Lawrence together with 15 other inventors will be formally inducted at a ceremony on May 5, 2016, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

Every year, a distinguished group of men and women whose technological innovations have made a significant impact on the world are inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. While Lawrence himself might not necessarily be a household name, his invention of signal processing in telecommunications has had far-reaching impact.

He spent majority of his career at Bell Laboratories and his work essentially made the modern Internet we know today possible. He improved internet transmission, made high-speed connections more widely available, and kick-started the spread of the web globally.

“This work that I’ve done has really filtered almost every aspect of our modern lives. You can find it in communications in DSL, in phones, in EKG machines in medicine – it really infiltrates all aspects of our lives,” he said. Lawrence was born in Ghana and attended the Achimota school and graduated in 1962.

According to him one of his driving passions right now is to bring Internet access to the world’s developing countries. He has been instrumental in trying to extend high-capacity fiber optic cable along Africa’s west coast.

“I have this passion of brining the Internet to the far off nations of this world, and connect a number of countries that have no or limited Internet access, I was so humbled when I found out. I did not believe it, because this is such a great honor,” 2016 inductee Victor B. Lawrence told CBS News.

For me, this is something that I was really not expecting, it is really a big honor for me.” he said.

Lawrence developed his signature achievement in the 1980s as the world started moving away from data transmissions bogged down by masses of wires and cords to a more wireless future.

After completing his PhD from the University of London, he was recruited by AT&T with the aim of finding ways, he said, “we could go from the analog world to the digital world.” Perhaps the central theme uniting Lawrence’s and the other inductees’ work is how their brilliant ideas have spread from the confines of the lab to have a global reach.

The 2016 inductees are: J.D. Albert, Roger Angel, Roger Bacon, Bantval Jayant Baliga, Per-Ingvar Brånemark, Barrett Comiskey, Joseph Jacobson, Sheldon Kaplan, Victor Lawrence, Radia Perlman, John Silliker, Harriet Strong, William Sparks, Ivan Sutherland, Welton Taylor, and Robert Thomas.

The hall of fame was established in 1973, and relies on a panel of experts from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to vet the final inductee selections. Inductees most hold a United States Patent that has “contributed significantly to the nation’s welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts,” according to the organization’s website.


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