Inventor: George Edward Alcorn Year: 1984
Growing up, George Edward Alcorn, Jr. excelled in his academics. The man earned his doctorate from Howard University in atomic and molecular physics in 1967. And after several jobs as a professor and holding a position at IBM, Alcorn joined NASA, where he would come upon the Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer. What does the device actual do? Assist scientists with the identification and examination of data that can be analyzed for several applications: including the obtained info on solar systems and other space objects. It takes serious smarts to assemble such a contraption.