Purdue alumnus inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame
January 11 2019
Edmund O. Schweitzer III, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1968 and 1971, is the founder, president and chief technology officer of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. He is among 19 innovation pioneers selected to be part of the class announced Jan. 8. The group, whose inventions range from the UNIX operating system to fluoride toothpaste, will be honored during an event May 1 and 2 in Washington, D.C.
“I am fortunate and honored to be inducted into the hall of fame and to be recognized among such distinguished inventors in the country,” Schweitzer said. “Purdue helped set me on a path of success and I am grateful for the many people who have helped me along the way.”
A link to his page in the hall is here. Schweitzer created the first digital protective relay in 1982, revolutionizing the electrical protection industry. His company can now identify a fault to within 100 feet on a 100-mile line and trip the breakers in a millisecond or two. His grandfather, an 1898 Purdue graduate, developed the first reliable high-voltage fuse.
Schweitzer is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He received the IEEE Medal of Power Engineering in 2012.
“We are immensely proud of Dr. Schweitzer’s outstanding contribution to electric power systems and his induction to the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” said Mung Chiang, Purdue’s John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. “Only a small group of alumni and faculty of Purdue Engineering have received this top honor for inventors in the U.S. Like those Boilermaker engineers, Dr. Schweitzer’s impactful inventions have benefited so many people around the world.”
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories broke ground in September on SEL Purdue, a 100,000-square-foot facility for electric power research that will support 300-plus new high-tech jobs and serve as an anchor in the Purdue Research Foundation’s Discovery Park District.
The $1 billion Discovery Park District is a 30-year plan to transform the west side of the Purdue campus by combining collaborative office and lab space with residential homes, pavilions, green space, walking paths, restaurants and retail.
The Schweitzers also donated $1.5 million to the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, or ECE, in 2018 to endow a professorship, and another $1.5 million to support the school’s power and energy systems research area, now named the Schweitzer Institute of Power and Energy Systems.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in Alexandria, Virginia, recognizes inventors and invention, promotes creativity and advances the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are among the inductees.