UK-born CCD developer wins award from President Obama

The Cambridge University (Cambridge, England) engineering alumnus who designed and built the first-ever digital camera has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from President Barack Obama at The White House.

Mar 13th, 2012
UK-born CCD developer wins award from President Obama
UK-born CCD developer wins award from President Obama

The Cambridge University (Cambridge, England) engineering alumnus who designed and built the first digital camera has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from President Barack Obama at The White House.

Dr. Michael Tompsett was handed a National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor given by the US government to engineers and inventors.

He has also received two other lifetime awards: the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame 2010 Pioneer Award, and the 2012 IEEE Edison Medal.

Dr. Tompsett is a British-born physicist and former researcher at English Electric Valve Company (EEV now E2V) in Chelmsford, who later moved to Bell Labs in America. He is best known as the developer of Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) imagers used in digital cameras.

In 1969, he moved to New Jersey with his wife and joined AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he made the first CCD. His group developed CCD linear and television imagers, and was the first to demonstrate an all solid-state color camera.

The photograph above shows his wife Dr. Margaret Tompsett who appeared on the cover of Electronics Magazine in January 1972 in the first digital picture taken with a CCD camera.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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