Of the numerous countries that have proclaimed “Inventors’ Days,” and at least four of them base their celebrations on the birthdates of Jewish inventors. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland observe it on today’s date, November 9th, in honor of the birth of Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-born actress who invented a “frequency-hopping spread-spectrum communication system” that became the basis for many modern wireless devices, while Argentina observes Inventors’ Day on September 29th, the birthday of Laszlo Biro, the Hungarian-born inventor of the ballpoint pen. (Inventors’ Day in the U.S. is on February 11th, Thoma Alva Edison’s birth date.) Among the products created by Jews are dungarees, lipstick, the birth control pill, traffic lights, the atomic bomb, color television, instant photography, holography, shopping malls, Prozac, the polio vaccine, Google, Valium, the microphone, the FAX machine, the laser, drip irrigation, the walkie-talkie, the mobile phone, the microprocessing chip, and many others. Over the past decade, tiny Israel has published more scientific papers per capita and has a greater concentration of high-tech companies than any country in the world. For an exhibit on American Jewish inventors, click here.
“Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.” —Edwin Land (Polaroid Land Camera)
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