Eric Fossum

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Description:
Eric R. Fossum (1957 –) is an American physicist and engineer, inventor of the CMOS image sensor. He is currently a professor at Thayer School of Engineering in Dartmouth College.

Early years and education

Fossum was born and raised in Simsbury, Connecticut and attended public school there. He also spent Saturdays at the Talcott Mountain Science Center in Avon CT which he credits for his lifelong interest in science, engineering and mentoring students. He received his B.S. in physics and engineering from Trinity College in 1979 and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Yale University in 1984.

Academic career

Eric R. Fossum was a member of the Electrical Engineering faculty at Columbia University from 1984 to 1990. At Columbia University, he and his students performed research on CCD focal-plane image processing and high speed III-V CCDs. In 1990, Dr. Fossum joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and managed JPL’s image sensor and focal-plane technology research and advanced development.

Invention

While Fossum was at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, then-NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin invoked a plan of "Faster, Better, Cheaper" for NASA Space Science missions. One of the instrument goals was to miniaturize charge-coupled device (CCD) camera systems onboard interplanetary spacecraft. In response, Fossum invented the CMOS Active pixel sensor (APS) camera-on-a-chip technology. As part of Goldin's...
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