George Heilmeier began his career at RCA’s Sarnoff Research Center where he discovered that an applied voltage could change the color of dye-doped liquid crystals in the 1960s. Credited as the inventor of the LCD* by the US Patent and Trademark Office’s National Inventors Hall of Fame (Akron, Ohio), Heilmeier had secured his place in electronic history, alongside other hall-of-famers like Thomas Edison and Steve Wozniak, after working at RCA for only six years.
In the 1970s Heilmeier entered government service as a White House Fellow and special advisor to the Defense Department. Then in 1975 he was appointed Director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. At DARPA he shepherded-in the modern era of high-tech weaponry including stealth aircraft, space-based lasers and smart-bombs using artificial intelligence (AI).