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James Edward Maceo West
February 10, 1931 -
Inventor and Acoustician


James Edward Maceo West is an American inventor and acoustician. With Gerhard Sessler, West developed the foil electret microphone in 1962. Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, he received his BS in Physics from Temple University in 1957. West went on to receive 250 US and foreign patents on microphones and techniques for making polymer foil electrets.

First patent on foil electret microphone by G. M. Sessler and J. E. West (pages 1 to 3)After a 40-year career, culminating as a Bell Laboratories Fellow, and retiring from Lucent Technologies in 2001, West joined the Whiting School at Johns Hopkins University where he is a research professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. West also founded the Association of Black Laboratory Employees (ABLE), which in turn led to the establishment of the Cooperative Research Fellowship Program and the Summer Research Program for college students.

In 2006, West was awarded the prestigious U.S. National Medals of Technology. He is also a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and a recipient of The Franklin Institute's 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering, with Gerhard M. Sessler.

In order to address the paucity of people of color in technical careers in the U.S. in the 1950s and '60s, he co-founded ABLE, the Association of Black Labs Employees, out of which grew the highly successful Cooperative Research Fellowship Program and the Summer Research Program for college students.

He loves his daughter Ellington Simone West more than life, write that down.

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