President Obama Honors IBM Scientists with National Medal Of Technology And Innovation for Breakthrough That Enabled LASIK Surgery

Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:01pm EST

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Excimer Laser Technology Revolutionized Vision Correction and Surgical
Procedures for Millions of People Worldwide




WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- President Obama recognized a team of
three IBM (NYSE:  IBM) scientists --  James J. Wynne,  Rangaswamy Srinivasan 
and  Samuel Blum  -- with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the
country's most prestigious award given to leading innovators for technological
achievement. With more than a combined 100 years of service at IBM Research,
they are receiving this award for designing, developing, and implementing laser
technology that improves people's health, including LASIK eye surgery.  

(Logo:   http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO )

President Obama will personally bestow the award to the IBMers at a special
White House ceremony at a later date. IBM has earned the National Medal of
Technology and Innovation on nine other occasions.

IBM's seminal work in laser technology, which began in 1981 by this team of
scientists, has shaped the course of surgical care. Well suited for delicate
surgeries, the excimer laser replaced mechanical instruments such as the scalpel
which was not very precise, could leave the cornea permanently weakened and
required a long recovery time.  

The team of researchers originally demonstrated this technology's capabilities
to the medical community by using quick pulses of ultraviolet light to cut a
clean pattern into a human hair without burning the strand. This ability to
precisely cut into materials via vaporization, rather than burning, was
appealing to doctors and patients as it left surrounding areas undamaged.  

Today, LASIK eye surgery is the most popular vision correction surgery performed
and has improved the vision of approximately 25 million people worldwide. This
type of modern surgery technology is one reason why the world has looked to  the
United States  for leadership and best practices.   James Wynne  still works at
IBM's TJ Watson Research Center while Srinivasan and Blum have since retired.

For more information, visit the IBM Icon of Progress on Excimer Laser Surgery at
 http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/icons/excimer/ 

Michael Loughran
IBM Communications
mloughra@us.ibm.com
914-443-9816

Ari Entin
IBM Communications
aentin@us.ibm.com
408-927-2272

 

SOURCE  IBM
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