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Mound Scientists to be inducted into Hall of Fame

April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013

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News & Events

Former Miamisburg Mound Scientists to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Two distinguished scientists from the Dayton area, John H. Birden (1918-2011) and Kenneth C. Jordan (1929-2008), will be included in the 2013 National Inventors Hall of Fame induction, on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Alexandria, Virginia.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premiere non-profit organization in America dedicated to honoring legendary inventors whose innovations and entrepreneurial endeavors have changed the world.

John Birden and Ken Jordan will be honored for their work at Monsanto’s Mound Laboratory, in Miamisburg, Ohio, in developing the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG), a self-contained power source that obtains its power from radioactive decay. Their invention was patented in 1959. Mound fueled RTGs have powered most of the spacecraft and planetary probes the United States has launched into deep space, where the sun’s intensity is not sufficient to generate electricity with solar cells. These space projects included electrical power for the instruments placed on the Moon by Apollo astronauts (SNAP or Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power), Pioneer (planetary exploration), Voyager (study of the planetary systems of Jupiter and Saturn), Viking (Mars surface), Ulysses (exploration of the Sun), Galileo (exploration of Jupiter and its moons) and Cassini (exploration of Saturn and its moons).

The efforts of Birden and Jordan will be recognized with 15 other inventors in this year’s induction ceremonies. The National Inventors Hall of Fame was founded in 1973, and with the honorees of 2013, there will be a total of 487 members enshrined. Other inventors from the Dayton area already inducted into the Hall of Fame are Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Charles F. Kettering.

For a closer look at the works of John Birden and Ken Jordan, visit the MOUND SCIENCE AND ENERGY MUSEUM, (MSEM), located at 1075 Mound Ave., Miamisburg, Ohio. MSEM has on exhibit an array of RTG models representing the work performed at Mound Laboratory in support of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space programs.

Museum hours are: Tuesdays, 1:00-3:00 PM and Saturdays, 9:00 AM-12:00 Noon.