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October 2, 2002

Bitzer Wins Emmy Award for Plasma Screen Technology

Dr. Bitzer

Dr. Donald L. Bitzer, Distinguished University Research Professor of Computer Science at NC State University, has been awarded an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his efforts in advancing television technology. The award was presented in a ceremony October 2 in New York City. Bitzer is arguably the first faculty member at NC State to win an Emmy.

Bitzer co-invented the flat plasma display panel in 1964. Originally invented as an educational aid to help students working in front of computers for long periods of time, plasma screens do not flicker and are a significant advance in television technology. The invention won the Industrial Research 100 Award in 1966.

news photo
Dr. Bitzer (left) coinvented the flat plasma display panel in 1964. With him are Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and Dean Nino Masnari. (Photo: courtesy Don Bitzer)

In an ironic twist, in 1973 the National Academy of Engineering presented Bitzer with the Vladimir K. Zworykin Award, which honors the inventor of the iconoscope. The iconoscope was the precursor of the Image Orthicon tube, a vacuum tube used in early television cameras and called “IMMY” — a name feminized to the Emmy that Bitzer is now winning.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1974, Bitzer was designated a National Associate by the National Academies, a group composed of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, in 2002. He is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society Fellow and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Bitzer received his bachelor’s in 1955, his master’s in 1956 and his doctorate in 1960, all in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois.

— rudd —

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