Facts about inventors and their inventions from around the world.

Ferdinand von Zeppelin

The fund-raiser and driving visionary behind building giant rigid balloon airships, Zeppelin built a craft that flew three years before the Wright brothers’ airplane. Problems of safety and maintenance made Zeppelin’s airships unsuccessful, however, though his legacy remains in blimps and novelty aircraft. mies on the general staff. He was forced into retirement in 1891… read more »

Richard Zsigmondy

Zsigmondy did much of the early work to explain and characterize colloids, mixtures in which particles of a substance are dispersed throughout another. He developed the ultramicroscope as a tool to study colloids. Born:April 1, 1865; Vienna, Austrian Empire (now in Austria) Died:September 24, 1929; Göttingen, Germany Also known as:Richard Adolf Zsigmondy (full name) Primary… read more »

Konrad Zuse

Zuse designed and built early computers, including the Z3, the world’s first general-purpose, programcontrolled, reliable computer. He also wrote the first book about digital physics. trate on building a computer. As his workplace, he chose his parents’ Berlin apartment, especially the living room, and received financial help from his family and several of his friends…. read more »

Vladimir Zworykin

Known as “the true inventor of television” (a claim sometimes disputed), Zworykin developed the iconoscope, the standard television camera until 1946, as well as the kinescope, its receiver. He also pioneered practical, noncommunication uses for the technology, such as the electron microscope. Born: July 30, 1889; Murom, Russia Died: July 29, 1982; Princeton, New Jersey… read more »

Steve Wozniak

Wozniak produced several key technical innovations of the microcomputer era, including chip designs and circuit boards that used electronics more efficiently than previously thought possible. Born:August 11, 1950; San Jose, California Also known as:Stephen Gary Wozniak (full name) Primary field:Computer science Primary inventions:Personal computer (PC); Breakout (video game) Early Life Stephen Gary Wozniak (WOZ-nee-ak) was… read more »

Frank Lloyd Wright

Wright is considered by many to be the greatest architect of the twentieth century. During his long career, he was responsible for a great many innovations in structure, materials, and design. Born: June 8, 1867; Richland Center, Wisconsin Died:April 9, 1959; Phoenix, Arizona Also known as:Frank Lincoln Wright (birth name) Primary field:Architecture Primary inventions: Innovative… read more »

Wilbur and Orville Wright

The Wright brothers developed the first successful heavier-than-air flying machine that incorporated wings to create lift; propulsion to produce forward thrust; and movable surfaces to control pitch, roll, and yaw, thus making modern aviation possible. Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press, 1992. Thirtytwo of Wright’s speeches delivered over a six-decade period, organized according to theme and subject… read more »

Rosalyn Yalow

Yalow won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977 for the discovery of the radioimmunoassay (RIA) method for detecting small concentrations of compounds, especially hormones, in body fluids. RIA allowed scientists to study the action of hormones and other compounds in the body. Born: July 19, 1921; Bronx, New York Also known as:Rosalyn… read more »

Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt

Watson-Watt is often described as the “father of radar.” His experiments and research established the foundational physics of radar, while his administrative efforts and persuasiveness were instrumental in the development of a radar-based air defense system. While Watson-Watt’s work focused on the military applications of radar, the wartime development of miniaturized radar made possible the… read more »