Born Sep 6 1919 - Died Sep 27 2011
Medical Cardiac Pacemaker
Patent Number(s) 3,057,356
Wilson Greatbatch invented the cardiac pacemaker, an innovation selected in 1983 by the National Society of Professional Engineers as one of the two major engineering contributions to society during the previous 50 years. Greatbatch established a series of companies to manufacture or license his inventions, including Greatbatch Enterprises, which produces most of the world's pacemaker batteries.
His original pacemaker patent resulted in the first implantable cardiac pacemaker, which has led to heart patient survival rates comparable to that of a healthy population of similar age.
Born in Buffalo, New York, Greatbatch received his preliminary education at public schools in West Seneca, New York. In 1936 he entered military service and served in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during World War II. He was honorably discharged with the rating of aviation chief radioman in 1945. He attended Cornell University and graduated with a B.E.E. in electrical engineering in 1950. Greatbatch received a master's from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1957 and was awarded honorary doctor's degrees from Houghton College in 1970 and State University of New York at Buffalo in 1984. Although trained as an electrical engineer, Greatbatch primarily studied interdisciplinary areas combining engineering with medical electronics, agricultural genetics, the electrochemistry of pacemaker batteries, and the electrochemical polarization of physiological electrodes.