NRL Space Scientist is National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee

Press Release From: Naval Research Laboratory
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Dr. George Carruthers, a senior astrophysicist at the Naval Research Laboratory, will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in recognition of his invention of the far ultraviolet electrographic camera. To commemorate the centennial of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight, the 31st annual induction of the National Inventors Hall of Fame is recognizing pioneers in the aviation and aerospace industries. The induction ceremony will take place in May.

The Far Ultraviolet Camera and Spectrograph, sent to the Moon on the Apollo 16 mission, was based on the far-ultraviolet electrographic camera that George Carruthers invented to give scientists fresh, revealing images of Earth and space. A pioneer in ultraviolet astronomy, Carruthers' invention was first used in sounding rocket flights in 1966, and made the first detection of molecular hydrogen in deep space in a 1970 flight.

The camera used in the Apollo 16 mission produced about 200 photos revealing new features of Earth's far-outer atmosphere, as well as deep-space objects from the perspective of the lunar surface. It also produced new far-ultraviolet images of stars, nebulas, and galaxies, as well as new views of the Earth.

Although the camera itself was left on the Moon, a second version was used aboard the final Skylab flight in 1973 to obtain images of Comet Kohoutek. Carruthers has also been involved numerous other sounding rocket and space shuttle flights using his cameras, including far-UV studies of stars and nebulas, Comets Halley and West and Earth's upper atmosphere. His most recent experiment was carried on the unmanned DoD ARGOS satellite mission, launched in 1999.

Carruthers has received numerous awards, including Black Engineer of the Year in 1987, the Arthur S. Fleming Award in 1971, the Exceptional Achievement Scientific Award from NASA in 1972 and the Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1973. Carruthers has also participated as a member of two independent review committees for the Hubble Space Telescope Project.

The not-for-profit National Inventors Hall of Fame is dedicated to honoring and fostering creativity and invention. Each year a new class of inventors is inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of patented inventions that make human, social and economic progress possible. Founded in 1973 by the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations, the Hall's permanent home is Akron, Ohio.

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