The University Record, May 7, 1996

Wise is finalist in Discover's Technological Innovation Awards

College of Engineering Prof. Ken Wise (center) with a silicon wafer containing hundreds of neural probes fabricated in the U-M's Solid-State Engineering Laboratory, seen in the background. Wise is a finalist for a 1996 Discover Award for Technological Innovation for his development of the neural probes. U-M researchers David J. Anderson (left) and Jamile Hertke (right) direct an NIH-funded program that distributes the probes to research scientists worldwide for study of the nervous system and neurobiological disorders.

Photo by David Koether


Kensall D. Wise, the J. Reid and Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing Technology and professor of electrical engineering and computer science, will spend the last weekend in May at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. While the location suggests a vacation, Wise is traveling to Florida at the invitation of Discover Magazine to appear at the awards ceremony for the 1996 Discover Awards for Technological Innovation.

Nominated by the U-M for his initial development of miniature neural probes so precise they can stimulate or record signals from a single nerve cell, Wise is one of 35 finalists selected by Discover's editorial panel from thousands of nominations. Winners will be announced in a ceremony at Disney's Epcot Center on June 1. The top prize is a $100,000 re search fellowship. All winners and finalists will be featured in Discover's July 1996 Awards issue.

Discover organized the Technological Innovation Awards Program seven years ago to "honor the men and women whose creative genius improves the quality of our everyday life and alerts us to the frontiers of human achievement and ingenuity."

In the computer hardware category, Wise's neural probes will compete with robotic ants developed by an MIT re search scientist, a "chemistry lab on a chip" from a senior staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a new discovery technique for screening metal, ceramic and plastic materials from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a battery- powered radar detection device from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.