Inventors Hall of Fame to induct Indian-American scientist

Washington: An Indian-American scientist is to be inducted into the prestigious National Investors Hall of Fame for his invention of the insulated gate bipolar transistor, a semiconductor power switch used in many modern appliances from electric cars to air-conditioners.

Bantval Jayant Baliga, an IIT-Madras graduate, initially pitched his idea for the device to General Electric (GE) management as a utility invention that could be implemented across the board in the company’s signature products.

The IGBT is particularly notable for its roles as a significant energy saver.

Baliga, a professor of Electrical Engineering at North Carolina State University, has been issued 120 US patents, many of them commercialised via his four successful start-up companies.

“I am very pleased that the National Inventors Hall of Fame has acknowledged my invention of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor by this prestigious induction,” he said.

Baliga will be inducted at a May 2016 ceremony in Washington, DC.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame – an American not-for- profit body dedicated to inventors and their inventions – was launched in 1973 to inspire the next generation of inventors by celebrating the achievements of visionary US patent holders who, through their innovations, have changed the world.

Its 516 previous inductees include Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.

The improved efficiency gained by using the IGBT in a wide range of applications has resulted in saving more than 1.5 trillion gallons of gasoline and reducing electrical energy consumption by more than 75,000 terra-watt-hours (equivalent to not having to build 1,366 one-gigawatt coal-fired power plants).

Since its invention, the IGBT has saved consumers USD24 trillion while reducing carbon dioxide emission by more than 100 trillion pounds.

“I’m just delighted in the impact this has had all over the world,” he said in a statement.