March 21, 2011
Dr. Donald L. Bitzer, Distinguished University Research Professor of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, has been inducted into the inaugural class of the Engineering Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The hall of fame recognizes Illinois alumni and others affiliated with the college who have made significant achievements in leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation of great impact to society.
Bitzer is being honored for his co-invention of the plasma display monitor, which earned him an Emmy Award in 2002 and made him the first faculty member at NC State to earn this distinction. He is also being recognized for his invention and co-development of Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations, or PLATO, the first computer system to combine graphics and touch-screen displays.
Bitzer co-invented the flat plasma display panel in 1964 to make it more comfortable for students working in front of computers for long periods of time, as plasma screens do not flicker. The technology was eventually applied to television screens, and millions of plasma TVs have been sold to the public since they were introduced in the 1990s.
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.
He received his bachelorís degree in 1955, his masterís degree in 1956, and his doctorate in 1960, all in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Bitzer joined the faculty at NC State in 1989.
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