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George E. Smith

AKA George Elwood Smith

Born: 10-May-1930
Birthplace: White Plains, NY

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Digital photography

Military service: US Navy

In 1970 George E. Smith and his long-time friend and co-worker Willard S. Boyle invented a digital sensor called the charge-coupled device (CCD) sensor, which turns light into electronic signals and allowed the development of digital photography. Smith and Boyle were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009, sharing the honor with Charles K. Kao. In a long career at Bell Laboratories, Smith also investigated magnetothermoelectric and galvanomagnetic effects and microwave resonance, and after his retirement in 1986 he wrote a poem to commemorate the discovery of CCD:

"Upon that Clear and Crystal Day
Cool Creation Dawned
and Calmly Cast the Die from which
the CCD was spawned."

Wife: Janet Murphy (teacher)

    University: BA Physics, University of Pennsylvania (1955)
    University: MS Physics, University of Chicago (1956)
    University: PhD Physics, University of Chicago (1959)

    Bell Laboratories Research & Development (1959-64)
    Bell Laboratories Director of Device Concepts (1964-82)
    Bell Laboratories Director of Very Large-Scale Integration Devices (1982-86)
    Pi Mu Epsilon
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
    IEEE
    American Physical Society
    National Academy of Engineering
    Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Medal 1973 (with Willard S. Boyle)
    Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award 1974 (with Willard S. Boyle)
    Photographic Society of America Progress Medal 1986 (with Willard S. Boyle)
    Computer and Communications Prize 1999 (with Willard S. Boyle)
    SIST Edwin H. Land Medal 2001
    Charles Stark Draper Prize 2006 (with Willard S. Boyle)
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 2006
    Nobel Prize for Physics 2009 (with Willard S. Boyle and Charles K. Kao)


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