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Robert H. Dennard, IBM Fellow Emeritus, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, received the 2017 National Academy of Sciences Award for the Industrial Application of Science in absentia.

Dennard’s contributions to microelectronics heavily influenced the world of modern computing. In 1966 he invented one-transistor Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) which replaced magnetic-core memory and became the RAM of virtually every computer and communication device used pervasively in industry today, ranging from transportation to telecommunications to medicine. Each basic DRAM cell uses a single transistor and a tiny capacitor to store a bit of data (stated as 0 or 1) in a large memory array within an integrated circuit chip, along with decoding circuits needed to write and read data to and from the chip. Dennard is the sole inventor of the fundamental DRAM patent, just one of his many patents.

Dr. Dennard made another fundamental contribution in 1972, working with his colleagues to develop scaling principles for miniaturization of MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor) transistor devices and integrated circuits (ICs). Applying these scaling principles led to the increased density, operating speed and energy efficiency of devices and circuits. They also provided industry with accurate, long-term projections of what advances in technology would mean to semiconductors and other products. This scaling methodology led the way from the early 5-micron MOS IC layout dimensions to today’s nanometer-scale dimensions of memory chips, high-performance processor chips and other IC applications using modern CMOS (Complementary MOS) technology.

Dennard also was a conceptual leader in IBM's early development of word/bit line redundancy for DRAM yield improvement, which was used in the IBM 64 kilobit DRAM. Word/bit line redundancy now is a standard technique in the memory industry.

Dennard is the recipient of the Kyoto Prize, the IEEE Medal of Honor and the National Medal of Technology, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, among many other honors.

The NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science is awarded for original scientific work of intrinsic scientific importance and with significant, beneficial applications in industry. The award, which includes a $25,000 prize, was established by the IBM Corporation in honor of Ralph E. Gomory.


Watch Acceptance Speech on Dennard's Behalf »

2017 Physical Science and Engineering Press Release »

NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science »

2017 NAS Award Recipients »

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