Advertisement
  1. Business

First six inducted into Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

GATORADE: Invented by University of Florida professor Robert Cade.
GATORADE: Invented by University of Florida professor Robert Cade.
Published Sep. 11, 2014

They gathered in Tampa to celebrate a Florida Dream Team of remarkable people for their inspiration — and perspiration. Surprise: This team has (almost) nothing to do with sports.

Six Florida inventors were inducted Wednesday evening into the new Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. Some of them — especially Thomas Alva Edison — are familiar to many. Others toil under the public radar, like many creators of life-changing inventions.

As many halls of fame discover, it's easy to pick inventors at the start. Of the inaugural six, four are honored posthumously. It gets tougher ahead. Today's "inventors" typically delve deeply into technologies or medical research so advanced that it will challenge even the best selection committee to choose among future candidates.

The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame announced its six winners alphabetically. I prefer to rank them by how much they have contributed to improving people's lives. Obviously, that favors inventors of the past, whose genius has had more time to materialize:

1. Thomas Edison (1847-1931), the most prolific inventor in U.S. history and a longtime Fort Myers resident. He focused here on trying to produce a commercially viable synthetic rubber so that the U.S. military would not be dependent on foreign sources of natural rubber.

2. John Gorrie (1803-1855), Apalachicola doctor and father of refrigeration and air conditioning. Without him, few of us would be living in the Florida we know.

3. Shyam Mohapatra (1955- ), University of South Florida professor and pioneer of applied biomedical nanotechnology, Tampa. He develops biodegradable particles to deliver drugs and genes that regulate immune response to inflammatory diseases.

4. Robert Cade (1927-2007), University of Florida professor whose hydrating sports drink Gatorade was first used by heat-exhausted college football players. Now it's not only a worldwide product owned by PepsiCo, it has generated more than $200 million in royalties to UF.

5. William Glenn (1926-2013), Florida Atlantic University professor developed high-def digital imaging for NASA.

6. Shin-Tson Wu (1953- ), University of Central Florida professor whose liquid crystal research has impacted display technology, Orlando.

Kudos to all who launched this hall of fame — including Paul Sanberg, chairman of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame advisory board and USF senior vice president for research and innovation, who saw a need to elevate Florida inventors.

A shoutout also goes to the Hall of Fame advisory board. It's a who's who from Florida's most dynamic organizations — SRI Research, Moffitt Cancer Center, All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine, Draper Lab, the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, and many others.

May next year's Dream Team be no less formidable.

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8405. Follow @venturetampabay.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Mike Bishop joins Pasco EDC staff. [Pasco EDC]
    News and notes on Pasco businesses
  2. Hernando County community news [Tara McCarty]
    News and notes on Hernando businesses
  3. A beer is pictured in the outdoor games area of Park & Rec on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Towers of Channelside condo association has filed a lawsuit against the bar, as residents complain about noise.
  4. Yacht StarShip, a dining and water taxi company, has added the Lost Pearl pirate ship to its fleet just in time for Gasparilla. [Yacht StarShip]
    After years entertaining tourists in Virginia Beach, the Lost Pearl is settling into its new Tampa Bay home.
  5. Bank OZK CEO and chairman George Gleason, left, and managing director Greg Newman are photographed at the OZK Wynwood branch in Miami on November 13, 2019. [CARL JUSTE | Miami Herald] [Carlt Juste | Miami Herald]
    In fact, Bank OZK has emerged as a powerhouse in commercial lending generally.
  6. Flooding from an October king tide in Miami Shores fills streets, sidewalks and driveways at its peak. [Miami Herald]
    And it could lose up to 35 percent of its value by 2050, according to a new report.
  7. Delta Air Lines said Friday it will launch five new round-trip routes a day between Tampa and Miami starting May 4. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
    Delta says the daily nonstop Miami service will create new connections for Tampa travelers to fly to Latin America and other international destinations.
  8. The Undercroft — the new home to a branch office of TheIncLab, an artificial intelligence firm — provides work space for several cybersecurity companies in one of Ybor City’s most historic structures, the El Pasaje building on E Ninth Avenue. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times [Richard Danielson]
    The Washington, D.C.-area company expects hiring 15 developers and engineers in the next twelve months and partnering with bay area universities to augment its staff with student interns.
  9. FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo Amazon packages move along a conveyor prior to Amazon robots transporting packages from workers to chutes that are organized by zip code, at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Cashless shopping is convenient, but it can be a budget-buster. This year, make it more difficult to spend money online. This could help cut out some of your impulse purchases. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) [ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP]
    Here are some tips to avoid wasting money when you shop.
  10. Lori Baggett, managing partner of Carlton Fields in Tampa. [Carlton Fields]
    The Carlton Fields firm announced her promotion earlier this month.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement