Hopkins research professor talks at NJIT about hospital noise and black heritage in technology

James E. West, PhD, a research professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University, will make two presentations April 9, 2007 at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). The public is invited.

The first talk, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom, will feature an overview of the Black heritage in technology. Later from 4-5:30 p.m. in Tiernan Lecture Hall I, West will discuss the increasing awareness of noise as being detrimental to health in hospitals, and how noise can be controlled for the benefit of patients and caregivers.

The first presentation focuses on how people of color have contributed to advances in science and technology throughout history. West will note how by design or by chance, Blacks and other non-whites have received much less recognition than they merit for inventions that have improved the quality of life for all people. His second presentation, will describe the protocol West has helped develop for measuring noise in hospitals and for introducing effective long-term noise-control strategies. The work of West and his colleagues promises better architectural designs for hospitals, new sound-absorbing materials and communication tools, reduced stress for medical professionals, and improved patient well-being.

West joined the Johns Hopkins faculty after a distinguished career at Bell Laboratories that spanned more than four decades. His pioneering research involving charge storage and transport in polymers led to electric transducers for sound recording and voice communication. Some 90 percent of all microphones manufactured today, including those in cell phones, are based on the principles he published in the early 1960s.

Recipient of an honorary doctorate from NJIT, West holds 50 U.S. patents and more than 200 foreign patents for microphones and techniques for making polymer electrets. He was inducted into The National Inventors Hall of Fame

Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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