Gurtej Sandhu’s urge for enhancing the efficiency of technological devices has not only got him more US patents than Thomas Edison, but also a recognition for being all-time seventh most prolific inventor as measured by number of U.S. utility patents
India has had its share of illustrious scientists and inventors whose talents have been seen in all fields of science. Many of them have made significant contributions to scientific research in many countries. From CV Raman, Satyendra Nath Bose, Srinivasa Ramanujan to APJ Abdul Kalam, Indian scientists have left an indelible mark on the collective memory of the scientific community.
This inventor’s name may not be known to many, but he has been quietly making his mark in the science world. Gurtej Sandhu’s 1,299 US patents surpass the 1,093 patents of Thomas Edison!
What’s more, Sandhu has also been recognised as being the seventh most prolific inventor of all time on the basis of the number of U.S. utility patents.
According to Sandhu, the urge to repair or fix things is a sign of becoming a world-class innovator.
When faced with a sticky situation, we have the capability to find a creative solution out of it. It has no bearing on education, background, or who you are. The key is to make the innovations affordable for everyone, he said in a TEDxBoise talk.
Born in London to Indian parents, Sandhu was three when he moved to India. He graduated from IIT-Delhi with a degree in Electrical Engineering and went to the United States in 1990 to pursue higher education. He did his PhD in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Sandhu’s fascination for integrated circuits (electronic circuits formed on a small piece of semiconducting material) began during his PhD.
For the same, he got a series of patents to his name and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Andrew S. Grove Award in 2018.
Sandhu had two jobs in hand when he first stepped into his professional life. The first one was from the then top American computer memory maker, and the other was from an 11-year-old startup, Idaho-based Micron Technology.
Confused between the two, Sandhu sought his professor-cum-mentor’s help, who told him that a startup would provide numerous chances to learn and experiment. Taking this advice, Sandhu worked his way to the upper echelons of the company, becoming its Vice President, today.
While working at Micron Technology, Sandhu made significant contributions to the DRAM and NAND memory chip scaling.
Using Moore’s Law, the Indian-origin inventor found a way to integrate more memory cells onto the chips. This made them more efficient by increasing the overall storage capacity for data. Moore’s Law is named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore who noticed that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every year.
Today, Micron and its competitors, Samsung and SK Hyic, account for 95 per cent of the global DRAM market and for Sandhu, this is his biggest reward.
That’s my reward. Sitting in Boise, Idaho, and working for Micron, and everybody in the world is using your patent, using things you came up with, he told Idaho Statesman.
The list of Sandhu’s patents includes innovations in self-driving cars, forming photonics structure and self-aligned nano cells, among others. You can read his patent list here.
Sandhu has also been an active mentor to engineering majors and faculty at Boise State University.
He (Sandhu) has tremendous humility, in particular given the scale of impact that he’s had. And he has his finger on the pulse of emerging technology and emerging memory on the global scale, Will Hughes, Director of the university’s Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering, told Idaho Statesman.
Also Read: Mentored by Kalam, This Unsung Scientist’s Brilliant Ideas Brought Science to Rural Bihar!
Featured Image Source: TEDx Boise
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)