Kudos: West Garners National Medal of Technology

Winter 2008

James WestIn 1962, James West and Gerhard Sessler revolutionized the field of sound technology when they invented the electret microphone, found today in everything from cell phones to hearing aids, from children’s toys to the devices astronauts use to communicate from outer space. More than 2 billion electret microphones are produced each year—95 percent of the total number of microphones in use today.

West, who joined the Whiting School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty in 2001 after a 40-year career at Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies, was honored this past July with the 2006 National Medal of Technology for his achievements in the field of sound recording and voice communication.