A Special Dual Presentation

NJIT Technology and Society Forum Series

James WestApril 9, 2007

Where Credit is Due:
The Black Heritage in Technology
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Campus Center Ballroom


Noise Can Make You Sick
4:00-5:30 pm
Tiernan Lecture Hall I


James E. West
Research Professor,

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering,
Johns Hopkins University


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In two presentations on April 9, James E.West will offer an overview of the contributions made by Blacks to technological innovation, and then focus on the detrimental effects of noise in hospitals and how controlling noise can benefit patients and caregivers.

As West will discuss in his first presentation, people of color have helped to advance science and technology throughout history. However, by design or chance, such individuals have received much less recognition than they merit for inventions that have improved the quality of life for all people.

In his second presentation, West will describe the protocol he has helped to develop for measuring noise in hospitals and for introducing effective long-term noise-control strategies. The work of West and his colleagues promises better architectural designs for hospitals, new sound-absorbing materials and communication tools, reduced stress for medical professionals, and improved patient well-being.

West joined the Johns Hopkins faculty after a distinguished career at Bell Laboratories that spanned more

than four decades.His pioneering research involving charge storage and transport in polymers led to electret transducers for sound recording and voice communication. Some 90 percent of all microphones manufactured today, including those in cell phones, are based on the principles he published in the early 1960s.

Recipient of an honorary doctorate from NJIT, West holds 50 US patents and more than 200 foreign patents for microphones and techniques for making polymer electrets. He was inducted into The National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1999 for the invention of the electret microphone. He is the author of over 100 papers and technical reports, has contributed to two books, and has supervised over 25 PhD’s in electrical engineering and other fields.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, West is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Acoustical Society of America, which he has served as president. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering’s Committee on Diversity in the Engineering Workforce and chairs the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering Council on Diversity.