George Heilmeier (May 22, 1936 - ) Liquid crystal display
George Heilmeier discovered four new electro-optic effects in liquid crystals in the 1960s
and pioneered the first liquid crystal displays (LCDs) before continuing with a diverse career.
As a Ph.D student, Heilmeier worked part-time at RCA
Laboratories. Becoming interested in organic semiconductors, he
focused his thesis on the field, and then researched
electro-optic effects in liquid crystals, leading to the first
LCDs. RCA was slow to market the new technology, but
several Asian firms embraced it to develop today’s booming market in
flat screen displays.
After heading an RCA Laboratories research division, Heilmeier was a
White House Fellow and a Special Assistant to the Secretary of
Defense. He soon was Assistant Director of Defense Research and
Engineering for Electronics and Computer
Science, then Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
At DARPA, Heilmeier contributed to the first stealth aircraft and other
major military initiatives. He rejoined industry as the Senior
Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Texas Instruments, and
later, he became Chairman and CEO of Bellcore Corp.,a billion dollar
network software and design company, retiring in 1997.
A Philadelphia native, Heilmeier earned a bachelor’s degree with honors
in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and two
master’s degrees and a Ph.D from Princeton.