Inventor of the Week Archive
for a different Invention or Inventor
Bernard Gordon (1928- ) Bernard Gordon, founder, chairman, and
CEO of Massachusetts-based Analogic Corporation
holds more than 200 patents worldwide. A lifelong inventor, Gordon's creations
include the fetal monitor, the high-speed analog-to-digital converter, the instant
imaging computer-aided tomography scanner, Doppler radar, and an advanced bomb-detection
Gordon grew up during the Depression era in western Massachusetts. As a boy
he liked to fix radios and transmitters. His interest in how things work led
to an opportunity at 13 to earn his first dollar: he began building and selling
improved outhouses featuring a cord that, when pulled, released lime and helped
leach waste into the ground.
Gordon's father demanded nothing less than excellence from his son when it
came to school. During his years at Springfield Technical High School, young
Gordon won science prizes, competed on the track and wrestling teams, and was
class co-president. At age 16, Gordon applied to MIT,
but he didn't get in. So, he turned to the U.S.
Navy's officer training program. The Navy first sent him to MIT, then to
Tufts where he serves today as trustee and
a member of the Board of Overseers for Engineering.
After serving as a Naval officer assigned to destroyer escorts Gordon returned
to MIT on the GI Bill, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1948 and a master's
degree in 1949, both in electrical engineering. After college, Gordon began
working at the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Company (which eventually evolved into
part of Unisys Corp.) There, he was involved
in a historic technological breakthrough, UNIVAC, the world's first commercial
digital computer. The core technology of high-speed analog-to-digital conversion
that Gordon and his team worked on is now found in an incredible range of electronic
devices, from computers, compact discs and televisions to EKG machines, digital
thermometers, clocks and imaging equipment.
In 1953, Gordon co-founded EPSCO, Inc. where he was involved in the development
of the dot matrix display (with An
Wang), fetal monitors, navigation and traffic control systems, digital Doppler
radar and a range of other pioneering technologies. In 1964, he founded Gordon
Engineering, which was later recognized for its invention of the first solid-state
X-ray generator. Gordon Engineering became Analogic Corporation in 1969, and
the company added a variety of manufacturing capabilities in the fields of medical
and industrial imaging and measurement systems.
At Analogic, Gordon established his company as a worldwide leader in areas
such as ultrasonography and digital imaging, supplying the digital electronic
processing subsystems for the leading laser imagers in the industry. Analogic
pioneered the equipment that prints today's black-and-white X-ray films. Analogic
also invented instant imaging computed-aided tomography scanning in 1975, making
a name for itself in medical imaging subsystems. Later the company created the
world's first lightweight, mobile computer-aided tomography scanner, which can
be operated by one person, easily moved among hospital rooms, and plugged into
a standard electrical outlet.
In addition to his professional endeavors, Gordon is active in encouraging
reform in engineering education. In 1984, he created the Gordon
Institute at Tufts University, a graduate-level program for career engineers
that provides engineers and technical professionals with the option to pursue
either a one- or two-year course centered around classes and/or real-world projects.
In 1972 Gordon was elected an Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers Fellow and later received that organization's Engineering
Leadership Recognition Award. In 1986, he was honored with the second National
Medal of Technology from President Ronald Reagan; in 1992, he received the
Benjamin Franklin Award for Innovation in Engineering and Technology from the
Franklin Institute. He became a member of the National
Academy of Engineering in 1991.