Canadian Physicist Willard Sterling Boyle is best known as the co-inventor, with George Smith, of the charge-coupled device (CCD), which won them the Nobel Prize in physics in 2009. The CCD is the “eye” of the digital camera, enabling instantaneous image transmission to essentially anywhere. Most scanning devices have CCDs at their core. It is also used in the medical imaging that on several occasions saved Boyle’s own life. Far from earth, the CCD is also the image-sensing element of the Hubble telescope. It was invented during a one-hour brainstorming session in 1969. Most of Boyle’s work was done at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. As director of Space Science and Exploratory Studies at the Bell Labs subsidiary in Washington DC, Bellcomm, from 1962 to 1964, he worked with Nasa to provide technological support during the Apollo space program and helped to select the landing site for man’s first landing on the moon in 1969.
Photo Credit: National Academy of Engineering