Hall of Fame - Recognized by the Alumni Association

SRI International has a long history of solving difficult problems and developing new processes, devices, and technologies. These accomplishments have resulted from the advanced skills, capabilities, and dedication of the unique staff of the organization.

The SRI Alumni Association recognizes the key people who have made exceptional contributions to the enduring success of SRI International. All former SRI staff members are eligible for consideration. The Association's Hall of Fame committee is charged with gathering nominations for the Hall of Fame, reviewing and evaluating the nominees' qualifications, and providing a list of recommended candidates to the Steering Committee for its final approval. The individual awards are made once a year at the annual Alumni Reunion event.

Selection Criteria

Contribution. Significant and lasting contributions to the success of SRI. Contributions may be in any area of research, management, or service, such as establishing a new laboratory or a new field of research or performing a service recognized as outstanding.

Leadership. Clearly demonstrated qualities of leadership, vision, and creativity.

Legacy. What did the person leave behind? (e.g., enhanced reputation for SRI, new or enhanced research, business, or support activity or facility).

If you know of someone worthy of nomination, please submit a nomination (300 words or less) describing their "exceptional contributions to the enduring success of SRI International." In your nomination, please address the above criteria.

Submit your Nomination

To submit your nomination for the Alumni Hall of Fame, email the SRI Alumni Association Steering Committee at steering-committee-alumni@sri.com or mail your nomination to:

SRI Alumni Association
333 Ravenswood Ave., AC-108
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3493
Voice Mailbox: 650.859.5100

Past Hall of Fame Members

Hall of Fame recipients from 2009 onward are listed below. For recipients before 2009, see the Hall of Fame archive.

2019: Ripudaman Malhotra - Donald Shockey

Don Shockey
Don Shockey

Donald Shockey is an internationally renowned expert in the fracture behavior of materials and an authority on material failures under impact and explosive loads. For more than four decades, he and his colleagues developed and presented to the world an SRI capability that few could match. It is the field of fracture physics—why and how all kinds of materials fail under both normal and catastrophic conditions, under great load, or on high-velocity, even explosive impact. Notably, his and his team’s research pioneered an approach that links microscopic failure processes with the macro behavior of structures, leading to better prediction and control of material failures. His contributions have helped solve many difficult problems for NASA, the Department of Defense, and countless other clients.

Since 1971, Don has been a true SRI Ambassador through his technical contributions, development of strong customer relationships, and dedicated service to the Fellows and Alumni organizations. In recognition of his career achievements, he was selected as an SRI Fellow in 1990 and a Fellow of ASM International in 1993; and he received the DYMAT Association’s Year 2000 John Rinehart award for pioneering work in the field of dynamic fracture, and the 2006 Society for Experimental Mechanics’ W. M. Murray Medal for excellence in experimental mechanics.

Don founded the Poulter Lab’s Center for Fracture Physics in 1998 and led the Center until his retirement in 2018. His technical talent and insights, his ability to mentor young engineers and look out for the well-being of his colleagues, his leadership in Poulter Lab, and the high honors his professional field has bestowed on him have shown him to be an exemplary member of SRI’s best.


Ripudaman Malhotra
Ripudaman Malhotra

One of the greatest quandaries of our age is energy and how it can be made sufficiently available at acceptable financial and environmental costs. Ripudaman Malhotra has produced numerous insights into this huge issue from his technical contributions, including energy transfer and conversion mechanisms such as the liquefaction and gasification of coal and the mitigation of fuel residues.

As Associate Director of the Energy and Environment Center at SRI for 35 years, Dr. Malhotra managed and contributed to projects encompassing process development, mechanistic studies, and chemical analysis of resources and fuels. The work on coal liquefaction and pyrolysis identified novel pathways for hydrogen transfer and changed conventional views of coal conversion processes. The Energy and Fuels Division of the American Chemical Society acknowledged this accomplishment by presenting Dr. Malhotra with the 2015 Henry H. Storch Award. He also received the SRI 2005 Fellows Award, the highest honor SRI bestows on its employees for technical excellence and professional contributions.

Grasping the bigger picture, he is educating the world about its energy consumption and sourcing using easily grasped metrics. For example, he coauthored the book A Cubic Mile of Oil: Realities and Options for Averting the Looming Energy Crisis (with Hewitt Crane and Edwin Kinderman), proposing to use a cubic mile of oil as a standard measure of energy from all sources, thus simplifying analysis and tracking of worldwide energy use. He continues to publicize energy and environmental issues with his blog (also titled A Cubic Mile of Oil) and with frequent presentations to audiences around the nation and the world. He has delivered invited/plenary presentations at technical symposia and at universities and gives numerous talks at smaller public forums.

2018: John R. Strickland — Mimi G. Erskine — Edwin Kinderman

John R. Strickland
John R. Strickland

The Chemical Economics Handbook (CEH) was launched at SRI in 1950 as a compilation of diverse statistics on the chemical industry gathered from various sources and presented in a standardized format. John R. Strickland and Mimi G. Erskine were instrumental in converting the CEH from strictly a data compilation activity to a detailed marketing research compendium dubbed by users as “the Bible” of the chemical industry.

Although popular with those who wished to follow the industry, the original program never fully covered its operating costs. After a number of years, SRI management decided to no longer subsidize the CEH and recommended the program’s closure. John Strickland countered by requesting time to promote an idea he had for developing complete supply/demand marketing research reports instead of simple statistical compilations. He was given three months to determine whether a more complete product offering could convert the CEH to a financially viable program.

Mimi G. Erskine
Mimi Erskine

Mimi Erskine provided the key element in promoting a “new CEH”—four prototype reports. These reports were instantly well received, not only by existing client companies but also by new client prospects. Overall acceptance of the new CEH was far greater than anticipated, and the program prospered. Erskine’s research approach and thoroughness gained her high respect in the basic petrochemical field, and her work became a template for other CEH researchers to emulate.

The high level of industry respect generated by the CEH assisted greatly in developing acceptance of subsequent SRI services to the chemical industry, such as the Process Economics Program, Directory of Chemical Producers, World Petrochemicals Program, and Specialty Chemicals Update Program. Finally, the new CEH consistently provided a very high financial operating margin.


Edwin Kinderman
Edwin Kinderman

Edwin Kinderman came to SRI in 1956 with already extensive experience in nuclear energy technologies, including isotope separation, uranium processing, and reactor operations. At SRI, he directed diverse energy-related programs of the Applied Physics Laboratory, while personally conducting research on applications of ionizing radiation and reactor safety issues, as well as nuclear materials control, terrorist and rogue-nation nuclear threats, and proliferation issues. As a widely recognized expert, he was invited to speak on proliferation issues at the first International Conference on Nuclear Material Safeguards in Vienna in 1965. Under his leadership, the Applied Physics Laboratory expanded by attracting many talented scientists who achieved great distinctions in their respective fields. The groups were later merged into what became SRI’s Physical Sciences Division.

In the 1970s, Ed changed his focus to studies of energy end uses and conservation, and by 1980 he was fully occupied with technoeconomic and market analyses for government and industrial clients. In another area of concern, by the 1970s and 1980s, hijacking of planes had become a serious threat. Ed participated in a government study and recommended to the FAA to secure the door to the cockpit. Unfortunately, this advice was not heeded until after the disastrous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Although much of his work dealt with industry confidential and government classified matters, he published a number of research articles in peer-reviewed journals and contributed chapters to two books on nuclear proliferation. After he formally retired in 1994, Ed continued investigating alternative energy resources and technologies and environmental control policies, while devoting time to the analysis of the broader energy issues addressed in A Cubic Mile of Oil, the book he coauthored in 2010 with SRI’s Hew Crane and Ripudaman Malhotra.

2017: Barbara Means — Donald Curran — James Colton — Mary Wagner

Barbara Means
Barbara Means

Barbara Means has been both a critical contributor to the growth and outstanding reputation of the organizations she has led at SRI since 1988 and an internationally recognized scholar in research and policy formation related to the role of technology in enhancing learning, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

Barbara has been instrumental in attracting “the best and the brightest” researchers in numerous education-related fields, bringing far-reaching and long-lasting benefits to those fields and the children and adults affected by their work. Barbara started the Center for Technology in Learning (CTL) in 1993 with a staff of five. The next year, she assumed leadership of the division in which CTL was housed. With Barbara as Vice President, the Policy Division grew rapidly, reaching a staff of 120 with annual revenues of $16 million in 1998. In 1999, she chose to return to research full-time, becoming co-leader of CTL. In that role, she helped the center expand steadily to become a highly respected and impactful center of 80 staff with 2016 revenues of $20 million.

The exceptional breadth of Barbara’s research and policy contributions is illustrated by the wide range of government and private-sector clients that have supported her work. Barbara has directed or co-directed projects for private foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; federal departments and agencies, such as the Institute of Education Sciences, the Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation; and even projects for the U.S. Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Barbara has authored or coauthored seven books and 30 book chapters, almost all of which included other SRI staff members, thereby helping them build careers that also have redounded to the benefit of SRI and their field. She also has made keynote or invited presentations to such entities as the Board of Science Education of the National Research Council; the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; the World Conference on E-Learning; the Second International World Summit for Education; the Council of Chief State School Officers; and the National Governors’ Association. The depth, breadth, and quality of Barbara’s research, as well as her key role in building a staff and organization with an enviable reputation, have benefited SRI in uncounted ways.


Donald Curran
Donald Curran

Donald Curran, the long-time director of SRI’s Shock Physics and Geophysics Program in the Poulter Laboratory, was a brilliant scientist, a beloved colleague, and a well-known and highly regarded ambassador/marketer for SRI. He joined SRI in 1970 and began leading a dynamic fracture program, which he then grew. During the following three decades at SRI, Don led several hundred research projects for government and industry, many of which involved developing materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and fabrics) and structures that would resist projectile impact (armor systems) and explosions (gas pipelines, nuclear power plants, military bunkers), “making people safer, healthier, and more productive”—SRI’s current mission statement. He authored well over 100 refereed journal articles and professional publications and coauthored three books.

Under Don’s guidance, SRI achieved international recognition in dynamic fracture of materials and structures and became the go-to research institute for projects involving material response under impact and explosive loads, a distinction that endures today at Poulter Laboratory and SRI’s remote explosive test site.

Don's abilities and accomplishments were recognized by the scientific community with several prestigious awards: In 1994, Don was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2000, he received the John S. Rinehart Award, which recognized him for “seminal contributions to the understanding and modeling of dynamic fracture, fragmentation, and shear localization.” And in 2009, he received the American Physical Society’s highest honor, the George E. Duvall Shock Compression Science Award—“For his pioneering contributions to the fundamental understanding of dynamic failure of materials and the incorporation of this understanding into successful theories and models of material response.”

In addition to his achievements, Don’s unequaled wit, interpersonal skills, and a penchant for activities “just beyond my abilities” made an indelible imprint on those who knew him.


James Colton
James Colton

After beginning his SRI career in 1968, James Colton participated, led, supervised, and otherwise consulted as a research scientist in many international projects that resulted in significant enhancement of SRI’s worldwide reputation for achieving goals not deemed feasible by lesser performers. Examples include project work for Japanese clients on subjects ranging from the safety of nuclear facilities to surveying available computer codes and material models for simulation of impact and explosion events. Another example is his remarkable hands-on contributions to successful completion of one-of-a-kind pipeline safety experiments performed in Canada in 1992. In all cases, Jim’s contribution went much beyond his capacity as Poulter Laboratory director in that he participated and directly contributed to the advancement of the scientific goals of the project.

Most of Jim’s project work was in support of DoD and DoE, and his contributions to national security are well recognized by his peers and high authorities. These include major contributions in advancing the science involving impact and other impulsive pressure loads. His extensive background in academia (and more than 50 articles published in refereed journals) reflect Jim’s scientific career and his contributions to advancing the science in his area of specialty (response of structures to impulsive blast and impact loads).

As a result of his technical contributions, Jim gained vast recognition for himself and for SRI as an American institution that solves important problems with worldwide implications. His contributions were recognized with an SRI Fellowship award in 2006. The performance of Poulter Lab under his leadership is clear evidence of his skills and competence as a lab director. However, Jim went much beyond this official capacity in mentoring young scientists who joined the group and letting them grow in their field of interest at the fastest possible pace. Jim’s genuine and straightforward demeanor and his flawless integrity and work ethic were appreciated by anyone who came in contact with him.


Mary Wagner
Mary Wagner

Mary Wagner joined SRI’s Center for Health, Education, and Social Science Research, directed by Dr. Mimi Stearns, in 1980. That center had been involved in studying the implementation of the so-called “mainstreaming” law (Public Law 94-142), which required giving students with disabilities a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive (that is, the most integrated with children without disabilities) environment appropriate to their needs. To determine whether this change in policy and practice was actually having an impact on the educational and life outcomes of students with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Education funded a major longitudinal study to recruit a nationally representative sample of 13- through 16-year-olds with disabilities and follow their progress for eight years. Mimi chose Mary to co-lead this high-visibility, multimillion-dollar effort, which was the first of its kind involving students with sensory, motor, behavioral, and cognitive disabilities. This highly successful project positioned SRI to win four subsequent major contracts for longitudinal studies of children and youth with disabilities. Mary’s work was instrumental in amassing nationally representative data and objective analyses of the educational experiences and outcomes for students with different kinds of disabilities.

The SRI work that Mary led was used by policymakers in framing federal legislation and by scholars producing more than 2,000 publications and presentations using SRI’s data.

Mary herself was asked twice to testify before congressional committees.

Another major contribution Mary made was preparing her research group to expand to the evaluation of interventions intended to address a broader set of needs, not only for children and youth themselves, but also for their families. Mary established SRI’s Center for Education and Human Services (now the Center for Learning & Development), which won a major bid to do the original evaluation of California’s Healthy Start program.

In her tenure at SRI, Mary exemplified the twin values of doing the best possible research and of treating colleagues with kindness and respect. She was awarded an SRI Fellowship for her scholarly contributions, as well as the Mimi Award in recognition of her outstanding job in mentoring others and promoting their professional development.

2016: Gerald Agin — Gerald Gleason — Michael Boldrick — Jerry Lucha

Gerald Agin Gerald Gleason
Gerald Agin             Gerald Gleason

Though a long time coming, it is common today to see the fruits of artificial intelligence appearing all around us. Part of that world is a set of computer vision systems that mimic our own sensing and reasoning capabilities. One of the earliest versions of such a system was developed forty years ago, when Gerald Agin and Gerald Gleason developed the “SRI Vision Module,” which analyzed two-dimensional images to locate and inspect manufactured parts. The emphasis was on material handling and, in particular, assisting the use of robots in manufacturing. According to a 1983 NASA report, their contribution became the “basis for several sophisticated commercial vision systems.” SRI sold this module to 15 different companies and in doing so helped them introduce computer vision into the automation systems that began appearing in the 1980s and 1990s. The success of this new sensory feedback technique gave SRI a lasting reputation in the field.


Jerry Lucha Mike Boldrick
Jerry Lucha             Mike Boldrick

In 1995, SRI won a project from the Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the technology of which would meet a significant need in American ground forces. As the Middle East conflicts began to draw in Army National Guard troops from across the nation, it was clear that these forces needed premobilization training. SRI’s technology, called Deployable Force-on-Force Instrumented Range System (DFIRST), could instrument ground force soldiers and their equipment so well that training maneuvers could realistically simulate battlefield conditions, as well as augment mission planning and assessment. The program was so successful that for more than two decades Army National Guard units and the U.S. Army became strong advocates and sponsors of this sizable and still ongoing work. Though it obviously takes teams to make efforts of this size work, in this case two people stand out: Jerry Lucha, for leading the design and implementation of the enabling technology, and Mike Boldrick, for his leadership in building the long-term sponsorships and hiring the appropriate staff for such military fieldwork. The awardees’ complementary contributions have enabled SRI to contribute markedly to the readiness of our troops as well as the overall health of the Institute. The program, one of the largest at SRI over its 20-year history, grew to such importance that in 2015 it was spun off as an SRI subsidiary.

2015: Ivor Brodie — David R. Brown — Curtis R. Carlson — Ronald J. Moore

Ivor Brodie
Ivor Brodie

Ivor Brodie came to SRI in 1973 as a physicist with a background in vacuum tubes and, in particular, the technology of cathode ray displays embodied in various commercial products produced by a company he had cofounded. He entered SRI as the Director of the Physical Electronics Laboratory and successfully led that organization for two decades, after which he consulted for that group until his retirement in 2002.

In general, Ivor’s SRI research centered on photoconductive surfaces and the emerging field of microfabrication. Of particular note, he directed his lab into the development of a vast array of innovative subminiature objects along with the tool development and material science to make them possible. These developments included photoconductive drums and toners for copiers, field emission arrays for vacuum electronics and flat-panel displays, recorders for medical radiography, and the tools for electron-beam lithography that enabled the printing of submicron features on the substrates of silicon wafers. His contributions to that field were captured in a book he wrote with Dr. Julius Muray: The Physics of Micro/Nano-Fabrication. Ivor also brought to SRI its first electron microscope.

Ivor also helped bring world prominence to his SRI lab, evidenced in part by the creation of this brand-new technology, vacuum nanoelectronics. That innovation led to his staff’s founding of the International Vacuum Nanoelectronics Conference, which is still being held. Ivor was awarded 10 patents while he was at SRI and was named an SRI Fellow. As an indication of his ability to attract and develop talent, four of his staff also became SRI Fellows during his second 10 years as Director. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.


David Brown
David Brown

David Brown joined SRI in late 1963 as the manager of the Computer Techniques Laboratory. It was then one of just four labs in the Engineering Sciences Division and the only one concentrating on computing. Although a decade or so earlier SRI’s large project to create the first banking computer made computing research at SRI almost inevitable, in 1963 it was still not clear what form that research should take. It was incumbent on David in his role as a manager at that time to help figure that out.

In the next several years, David had a hand in bringing to SRI a set of talented researchers such that by the start of 1969 a huge breakout of new identifiable efforts emerged. At that moment, the Engineering Sciences Division expanded from five labs to a dozen identifiable program areas under just two leaders, one of whom was David Brown. David’s group of six programs included the Artificial Intelligence Group, the Augmented Human Intellect Center, and the Computer Science Group, all of which evolved into independent labs with researchers who became world leaders in their field. As these labs matured, David continued as head of the Information Science Laboratory for another 8 years, and his tenure at SRI would eventually total 30 years.

David’s contribution to this growth was well expressed by a leader of one of those emerging groups: "It was a time of great change and opportunity in technology and little tradition in independent applied research. SRI attracted some very bright and far-seeing researchers and there was a continuous search for sponsors with vision and resources. The result was a kind of start-up culture, with…a variety of growth profiles, some slow, some explosive, with consequent challenges of management—how to find the right staff, how to combine research themes, how to terminate weak programs, how to cultivate sponsors were some of Dave’s contributions. His leadership was crucial in solving these problems and he helped build a home for creativity and a model for a strong institution."


Curtis R. Carlson
Curtis R. Carlson

In 1998 Curt Carlson came to SRI as an executive from its subsidiary, the Sarnoff Corporation, to serve as SRI’s ninth president. Holding that position until 2014, he led SRI longer than anyone else in its nearly 70-year history. But it is not just that longevity that prompts this award. It is his accomplishments for SRI during those 16 years.

During his tenure, Curt was an engaged and interactive president who relished the opportunity to sit with all staff members to understand their role and their research, with the unspoken goal of encouraging and motivating them. He tackled the perennially difficult issue of interdisciplinary research by bringing different parts of the Institute together to better address a potential client’s needs. He explored the essence of the innovation process and left SRI better able to look for, understand, and meet a client’s needs. His career in research let him relate easily and effectively to those professionals at SRI responsible for the Institute’s livelihood.

Curt’s approach helped increase the Institute’s revenues from $160 million, burdened by debt when he arrived, to $540 million by 2014. His concentration on meeting clients’ needs and submitting more effective proposals resulted in a more uniform profitability across the major R&D divisions, a welcome Institute change.

But his most important legacy is his unprecedented attention toward and profit from SRI’s intellectual properties. Although Curt did not initiate SRI’s entry into the use of its intellectual property, he clearly brought it to a place of prominence and a point of substantial—often crucial—help to the Institute’s bottom line. Also building on prior policy, he saw to it that part of the financial return from that property found its way back to the inventors and to the staff in general. For the first time in its history, royalty and equity became, and are still, key components of SRI’s financial picture.


Ron Moore
Ron Moore

Ron Moore worked at SRI from 1955 until 1992 as a creative artist, from the days of pen and ink drawings and film photography well into the age of computer graphics. His contributions and forward thinking as an illustrator and graphic designer helped consolidate SRI’s position in the business and scientific communities as a professional research organization.

Ron’s first task was to create, starting with blueprints, an 8-foot-long artist’s conception of a finished explosive device. Many more such illustrations followed, including drawings of SRI’s famous Shakey the Robot. In addition, Ron created illustrations for a variety of media, ranging from SRI promotional pieces and periodicals to posters for special events and slide presentations. His designs of SRI’s publications -- the Long Range Planning Service, SRI Journal, Investment in Tomorrow -- distinguished them from those of our competitors and won several national awards for cover designs.

Ron recognized early on the importance of a uniform corporate identity, and he worked hard to implement a cohesive corporate identity program that has had long-lasting positive effects on SRI’s reputation. The program included harmonious designs for an array of SRI presentation materials, including logos, stationery, posters, and business cards, that became the SRI style. He was quick to realize the potential of early Apple computers, using his own IIe at home until SRI provided him one. He promoted the use of Apple computers in the publications arena, and helped many staff members—eventually including his boss—learn how to use Apple’s graphic software.

Through the years, Ron worked across the Institute, stimulating staff creativity and capturing ideas in memorable images and publications. His wry humor and quick wit made him a joy to work with as he helped define the visual character of the Institute through its publications.


2014: There were no inductees in 2014


2013: Adam Cheyer — Don Lorents

Adam Cheyer
Adam Cheyer

From the time that Adam Cheyer came to SRI from UCLA as a young computer scientist in 1993, he became an important contributor and creator of interesting new formulations. Working in the Artificial Intelligence Center (AIC), he began to conceive ways to improve our interaction with computers and to unite the various components of artificial intelligence. The modes of human-computer interaction were increasing, and SRI had more than its share in hand: speech recognition, natural language understanding, the mouse, virtual reality, pen computing, text-to-speech, and higher-level applications such as email, scheduling systems, and distributed databases. In a brilliant initiative, Adam brought organization to all these in a structure called Open Agent Architecture (OAA). Through an approach Adam branded “Delegated Computing,” users could input a task request in a variety of ways and then independent agents organized in a community would both collaborate and vie for selection to produce the best response. This environment produced more than 50 demonstration systems, such as a smart refrigerator, a speech-enabled TV, and collaborative robotics. It also planted the seed for a world-famous breakthrough in virtual personal assistance.

After leaving SRI in 1999 to try out some of his ideas in the commercial world, he returned to the AIC in 2003 for its largest project ever, a DARPA initiative called CALO (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes) that would involve virtually every AI research center in the United States. CALO was directed toward creating systems that could “learn in the wild,” adapting to become ever more efficient at aiding users in accomplishing everyday tasks.

Four years later, Adam co-founded an SRI spin-off company called Siri, which launched the first popular “conversational assistant” iPhone app. When Steve Jobs convinced the team he believed in the long-term vision of the technology, the founders agreed to sell the company to Apple. Because SRI owned a significant interest in Siri, it was able to share in the sizable financial outcome of this transaction. Siri now lives in iPhones and iPads everywhere and is a watershed achievement in human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence.

Adam also has found the time to help start two other companies. Change.org has a community of more than 40 million active users who are driving change by raising awareness of injustices around the world. Genetic Finance, with more than 1.3 million computers, is applying machine learning on a massive scale to solve problems in finance, medical applications, and genomics.


Don Lorents
Don Lorents

Don Lorents joined the Molecular Physics Laboratory (MPL) in 1959, only 3 years after it was founded by his graduate school colleague Charlie Cook, and he played a key role in the scientific achievements of the lab for the next 35 years and beyond. His training in interactions of low-energy electrons and ions with atoms and molecules fit well with the research activities of Charlie, Jim Peterson, and Felix Smith, and between them they soon built the lab into a group with an international reputation. Don provided stalwart leadership during this period, including spending 10 years as director of the MPL. The lab grew to a peak of 60 members during his tenure; it attracted outstanding scientists from the United States and abroad to visiting scientist and postdoctoral positions, attracted university faculty to spend their sabbaticals here, and sent seven of its senior staff members out to university professorships.

Don’s scientific research encompassed extensive and ongoing work in experimental and theoretical atomic and molecular physics, including electron-atom and ion-atom collisions. In 1972, he demonstrated a unique example of the practical benefits of basic research when he used his experience with scattering experiments on He2+ and Ar2+ to formulate the excitation mechanism for production of excited states in dense rare gases, which is the basis for the newly discovered rare-gas excimer lasers that were of great importance in the era of the Strategic Defense Initiative. This led to an extensive laser development and application program that was a major part of MPL’s activity for the next 10 years. Later, Don led a program to produce, characterize, and use carbon fullerene molecular clusters and their derivatives. This work carried on well into his partial retirement years.

Don was named an SRI Fellow in 1985 in recognition of his work in high energy laser development. He should also be recognized, along with Charlie Cook, as a founding member of SRI’s Institooters band.


2012: There were no inductees in 2012


2011: Ed Acton — Earl Blackwell — Joe DeGraw — Elmer Reist

Ed Acton
Ed Acton

Ed Acton and his colleagues developed and demonstrated techniques for the synthesis of hundreds of new chemicals for screening as potential anticancer drugs. Activity and mechanism studies, beyond the National Cancer Institute (NCI) screen, were carried out in numerous laboratories. From 1959 until 1986, his investigations covered a wide variety of chemical classes and structures. With his colleagues, Ed wrote and published more than 80 papers and was issued 19 patents. The quality of Ed’s work and the straightforwardness of his efforts brought SRI to the attention of cancer researchers around the world and brought a steady stream of funding to SRI’s Life Sciences Division, much of it from NCI. Ed presented his findings at scientific meetings in North America and Europe, which led to useful collaborations between SRI and other research organizations. After Ed left SRI, he spent several years in Bethesda, Maryland, doing drug synthesis at NCI.


Earl Blackwell
Earl Blackwell

Earl Blackwell began his career at SRI in the Huntsville, Alabama, office in May 1970. Three years later, Earl transferred to Menlo Park, where he took the lead on a program to improve the effectiveness of the U.S. Navy’s ICBM test and training ranges. In every program he engaged in during his career, Earl consistently contributed innovations that resulted in significant improvements in U.S. leadership in both the development of military systems and the training of our armed forces personnel.

Earl became well known and highly respected nationally for his development of systems to provide high-accuracy real-time measurement applications using the satellite-based Global Positioning System assets. One of these, Exploitation of Differential GPS for Guidance Enhancement, culminated over 17 years of research and innovative techniques that spawned a number of related projects. With Earl’s assistance, this program area continued to grow, diversify, and prosper and still is considered an important core business base for SRI’s Engineering & Systems Group.

Earl’s approach to new technical challenges was unconstrained and creative, enabling him to consider all potentially feasible alternatives while never missing the big picture. Earl’s professional and innovative approach is considered outstanding by all who worked with him—management, staff, and clients.

As a mentor and teacher, Earl developed SRI’s younger and less experienced staff. His ability to instruct through technical discussions and freewheeling exchanges always contributed greatly to the overall development of future project leaders while ensuring the best possible technical effort on the project at hand. Everyone on Earl’s project teams received an invigorating, creative experience that helped rapidly expand their systems development and engineering skills.


Joe DeGraw
Joe DeGraw

Joe DeGraw led a very extended effort at SRI on a class of cancer-fighting drugs that compromise a cancer’s ability to use normal blood constituents to grow. One of those normal growth-enabling compounds is folic acid. This natural compound is particularly important to rapid cell division and thus can be a “feeder” to cancer. As early as the 1950s, researchers synthesized a drug, methotrexate (MTX), that appeared to a cancer cell as folate but, once transported into the cell, caused its death through inhibiting its production of DNA/RNA. Thus this class of drugs was called antifolates, and SRI’s versions of these started with improvements to that line. One improved compound, edatrexate (EDX), was far more effective than previous versions in experimental tumors in animals. EDX has been used alone and in combination with other drugs for lung and breast cancer in clinical trials and non-Hodgkins lymphomas, although it has not been commercialized.

In the 1990s, Joe and his colleagues introduced another SRI analog, called PDX, that was targeted for smoking-induced lung cancer. Again, to help differentiate cancer from normal cells, it exploits a specific transport protein that is more abundantly expressed in cancer cells. Now known as pralatrexate, PDX passed through accelerated trials because of urgent need. It was approved in 2009 as the first drug available for relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma, a biologically diverse group of aggressive blood cancers that have a poor prognosis. It is on the market and also is under evaluation for several other cancers. Through the many decades of this SRI work on antifolates, Joe was the principal contributor.

Over his nearly 40 years at SRI, Joe also invented other antifolate drugs, including some for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. He also created a nonaddictive analog of morphine and even a pheromone to help control the western pine beetle that is devastating many western forests. And there were other leadership positions at SRI. From his entry as an organic chemist in 1957, he became a leader of SRI’s medicinal chemistry effort, directing that effort from 1974 to 1990 and then as Associate Director of Biorganic Chemistry until 1994. He was named an SRI Fellow in 1987 for his antifolate work and other activities, including the above-mentioned drugs. Joe was the author of more than 160 research publications and 30 patents during his career at SRI. He was on the editorial board of Current Medicinal Chemistry and served as a reviewer for National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant award committees from 1980 to 1988. He also served as a consultant to numerous pharmaceutical companies in the United States, Europe, and Japan.


Elmer Reist
Elmer Reist

As a group leader in the Life Sciences Division, Elmer Reist developed several long-running research programs on drug synthesis, starting with one for antiviral and antimalarial agents, supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, respectively. This program in nucleoside and carbohydrate chemistry drew on his 10 years of experience at SRI synthesizing anticancer drugs for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Elmer subsequently established a program to synthesize potential carcinogens for the chemical repository of NCI. In collaboration with several other research organizations, he even designed labs with special air handling systems to prevent the release of these carcinogens.

Another program Elmer developed prepared new chemicals to treat AIDS and AIDS-related side diseases, such as cytomegalovirus. It developed into a 10-year effort funded by NIAID and was carried out in collaboration with researchers at Washington State University. Elmer’s programs brought renown to SRI and established SRI’s preeminence in the field of drug synthesis. With his many presentations and publications, Elmer became well known throughout the worldwide research community. At the time of his retirement, he was Associate Director of Bioorganic Chemistry and had more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and several patents on antiviral agents.


2010: There were no inductees in 2010


2009: Ted Mill

Ted Mill
Ted Mill

Ted Mill's contributions to environmental chemistry led to international guidelines for identifying potentially harmful new chemicals to protect the environment and have enhanced SRI’s reputation in the sciences. Ted Mill came to SRI in 1960 from the Du Pont Experimental Station. At SRI, he exhibited strong leadership of the Physical Organic Chemistry Department staff, which ranged from 15 to over 30 members for more than 20 years.

In the 1970s Ted Mill began two new areas of research related to oxidation chemistry. One area focused on how vitamin E trapped radicals in biomembranes and how these membranes affected reactivity of the radicals, thereby advancing our knowledge of the role of free radicals in heart and aging diseases. The second area of radical research, funded by the National Science Foundation, showed that oxidizing radicals form in sunlit rivers and lakes. The discovery led to better understanding of how sunlight degrades organic compounds dissolved in natural waters. In many additional studies, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and European regulators, experimental and theoretical methods were developed to predict how fast chemicals are transformed and degraded in air or water.

Ted Mill’s research has significant social value in giving both regulators and chemical manufacturers clear guidelines for identifying potentially harmful chemicals before introduction to the environment and therefore for regulating their use. SRI’s methods were adopted by the United States as well as the European Union and remain the principal means of safeguarding against widespread introduction of new persistent chemicals such as PCBs, DDT, or MTBE. In 1998, Ted Mill assumed an emeritus staff position in the chemistry laboratory, where he continues research in oxidation and environmental chemistry.


Bios for recipients before 2009 are available on the Hall of Fame archive page.

2008: David Golden — Ken-ichi Inouye — Kinney Thiele — Peter Hart — Bob Dehn

2007: There were no inductees in 2007

2006: Bill English — Jeff Rulifson — Carl Spetzler

2005: Catherine Ailes — John P. McHenry — Charles Tyson

2004: Charles A. Spindt — Robert Stewart — Shigeyoshi Takaoka — Masato Tanabe

2003: Jack Goldberg — Marion Hill — Earle Jones — Peter Lim — William Royce

2002: Mike Frankel — Paul Jorgensen — Donn Parker

2001: George Abrahamson — Dale Coulson — Philip Green — Kitta Reeds — Carl Titus

2000: Hewitt D. Crane — William C. Estler — Elizabeth "Jake" Feinler — Douglas D. Keough — Kenneth E. Lunde — Donald L. Nielson

1999: Richard B. Foster — John V. N. Granger —Melba Harrison — Richard C. Honey — Ralph Krause — Thomas H. Morrin — Jerre Noe — Allen Peterson — Lorraine Pratt — Don R. Scheuch — Ronald Swidler -- Mike Villard

1998 and earlier: Bill Baker — Emery Bator — Fran Bohley — Charles Cook — Bonnar Cox — George Duvall — Kenneth Eldredge — Douglas Engelbart — William Evans — Dennis Finnigan — Gustave Freeman — Weldon Gibson — Jane Goelet — Bruce Graham — Chuck Hilly — Jesse Hobson — Fred Kamphoefner — Ray Leadabrand — Albert Macovski —Frank Mayo — Joseph McPherson — Arnold Mitchell — Chozo Mitoma — Tetsu Morita — Jean Nelson — Gordon Newell — Nils Nilsson — William Platt — Thomas Poulter — Ed Robison — Charles Rosen — Robert Shreve — William Skinner — Felix Smith — Robert Smith — Mimi Stearns — Lawrence Swift — Robert Vaile — John Wagner