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Milford Barron

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MIT Letter

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10-16-1999

Letter To MIT  

I am submitting Milford Barron as a candidate for the Invention Dimension Award and I suggest that MIT give Mr. Baron's inventions close scrutiny with an eye towards considering him for the MIT/Lemelson Award.  Mr. Barron is a graduate of GMI/Kettering.  His son, Mark Barron (810) 695-2080 mbbarron@mindspring.com, is a graduate of MIT and Stanford, and that is the reason I think MIT should be reaching out to the Barron family.  

Milford Barron is a perfect example of the type of inventor Jerry Lemelson hoped to engage with his programs and as such he is a great role model for aspiring inventors.  He is in his mid eighties.  He has demonstrated he understands the value of contributing to society with two separate $1,000,000,000 grants to GMI/Kettering.   He is currently in large part not recognized by society.

Mr. Barron has a number of inventions in the medical field and his first invention has played a significant role in saving lives, and relieving suffering and disfigurement.  His invention was a breakthrough, with virtually no prior art at the time he conceived it.  The invention is simple and a great example of how the best inventions can be surprisingly simple devices.  Mr. Barron has produced a number of other inventions of merit.  

The invention is a device that allows skin to be cut off in strips for grafting on burn patients.  Prior to the invention surgeons removed skin with micro incisions.  This was a very time consuming and tedious process which took a great toll on patient and doctor alike.  The end result being that many patients who died or were crippled and disfigured by their burns can now be saved as a direct result of the invention.

Jerry Lemelson's vision was for his programs to raise awareness of inventors and their value to society.  He saw funding of programs like the MIT program as a catalyst which would encourage other institutions to reach out to their own inventors.  I genuinely liked Jerry Lemelson and shared his vision.  Shared experiences made us soul mates.  

I have invested considerable effort in advancing our shared vision.  Since I live near GMI/Kettering, and because they are part of the reason I am an inventor today, I have invested considerable effort in trying to make them part of the inventor movement.  

One aspect of that effort was my failed attempts to bring GMI/Kettering in contact with Jerry while he was still with us, and when they failed to see the value of that, to show them through their alumni inventors that there was a real opportunity. Both Doug Hougen and Milford Barron were part of that effort.  Doug Hougen has passed away but Mr. Baron is still very active, but getting up in years.   

But for some reason GMI/Kettering does not appreciate that they have a real gem in Mr. Barron and other inventors.  For several years they have dropped the ball on nominating him for the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  And when I followed up last week they made it very clear that they were not going to do so.  Their reasons have nothing to do with the merits of his nomination, but rather are a result of staff availability and an unwillingness to contract the job out.  

Like beauty, opportunity is in the eye of the beholder.  And while I am disappointed that I have been unsuccessful in engaging GMI/Kettering, I am also thankful that other institutions like MIT have a better appreciation of the value of inventors and the opportunities they represent.  Which is why I am bringing this opportunity to MIT's  attention.  

I will be putting up more information and a picture of Mr. Barron at www.InventorEd.org/inventors/Barron/ soon.  Please consider Mr. Barron for the Inventor of the Week award, and more importantly pass on my suggestion to your resource development staff that they take this opportunity to help Mr. Barron's son, Mark Barron (810) 695-2080 mbbarron@mindspring.com, write and submit the nomination.  

As always, I am looking forward to ongoing collaboration,  

Ronald J. Riley (810) 655-8830
President, Professional Inventors Alliance
http://www.rjriley.com/pia/   Advisory Board President,
Alliance for American Innovation, Inc., Wash, DC

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