Yahoo! founders, earthquake engineering pioneer, cryptography inventor and other Stanford engineers honored for their contributions to technology and society.
The founders of Yahoo!, a pioneer of earthquake engineering and a former U.S. secretary of defense are among the seven people selected as the 2012 Stanford Engineering Heroes, an honor recognizing those who have advanced the course of human, social and economic progress through engineering.
Established in 2010, the Heroes program celebrates the groundbreaking achievements of the most accomplished engineers associated with the Stanford School of Engineering and the profound effect engineering has on people's everyday lives.
The seven, chosen from among former faculty and alumni, have worldwide reputations as technology innovators and industry leaders.
They include John A. Blume, known as the father of earthquake engineering for achieving breakthroughs in seismic and structural engineering that exerted an unprecedented influence on modern earthquake engineering. John McCarthy was a seminal figure in artificial intelligence who gave the field its name and defined the discipline for more than five decades.
Three of this year's heroes are company founders as well as distinguished technologists. Jerry Yang and David Filo were Stanford graduate students when they created a web indexing system that helped tame the burgeoning World Wide Web and led them to found web and digital media giant Yahoo! James H. Clark, a former Stanford professor, has been a founder of several well-known companies including Netscape, which popularized the first web browser, and Silicon Graphics, which revolutionized the design process for everything from bridges and airplanes to special effects for movies.
At least two of the heroes have exerted major influence in spheres beyond science and technology. William J. Perry was secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997, and he remains active in issues relating to arms control and national security.
Martin Hellman is one of the inventors of public key cryptography, the encryption tool that today safeguards trillions of dollars worth of online financial transactions daily. He's also been influential in raising broad awareness about the risk of nuclear war.
"These Heroes have made an indelible mark on Stanford Engineering and provided a tremendous benefit to the world," said Jim Plummer, the dean of the School of Engineering. "They exemplify all that the school stands for: innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership, and world-class teaching and research. We are proud to recognize them and their work."
The seven new Heroes join a select group that includes Internet pioneer Vint Cerf; GPS creator Brad Parkinson; Ted Maiman, inventor of the world's first working laser; Hewlett-Packard founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard; Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim; and former Intel chairman and CEO Craig Barrett.
Blume was an expert in nuclear power plant design who consulted for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as on 70 nuclear plant projects. He earned degrees in engineering in 1933 and 1934, both from Stanford.
It was not until 1967, 33 years after receiving his bachelor's degree, that Blume received his doctorate from Stanford. He was 57. Blume's many honors include membership in the National Academy of Engineering.
In 1994, Clark joined Marc Andreessen (lead developer of Mosaic, one of the first web browsers) to form Netscape. Clark has a BS and MS in physics from Louisiana State University and a PhD in computer science from the University of Utah, which also awarded him an honorary PhD in science in 1995. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.
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