Dr. JAMES EDWARD MACEO WEST
February 10, 1931, Farmville, VA
Inventor and Acoustician. Along with Gerhard Sessler, West developed the foil electret microphone in 1962 while developing instruments for human hearing research.
EDUCATION :Temple University
AWARDS: National Medal of Technology and Innovation, Benjamin Franklin Medal
The majority of microphones that are in use today are part of the inventors vision and passion. Dr. West is an African-American inventor born in 1931, in Prince Edwards County, VA. As the inventor of the microphone and the hearing aid, Dr. James West has received numerous awards and honors including a Fellow of IEEE, Industrial Research Institute’s 1998 Achievement Award, 1995 Inventor of the Year from the State of New Jersey and induction in the Inventors Hall of Fame in 1999. James E. West holds 47 US patents and more than 200 foreign patents from his 40-year career with Bell Laboratories. During his career Dr. West also involved himself with programs designed to encourage minorities to take more of a role in the sciences. In the 1970’s, he became a member of the Association of Black Laboratories Employees (ABLE) at Bell Labs that influenced management to fund the Summer Research Program (SRP) and Cooperate Research Fellowship Program (CRFP) – programs that helped more than 500 minority students graduate with degrees in science, engineering and mathematics.