GTRI VIDEO HISTORY:
GTRI "The Solution Institution"

75th anniversary video
The history of GTRI is one filled with intrigue, innovation and impact. Learn about GTRI's exciting past, present and future. View video
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GTRI's Modern History

Check out some of the problems GTRI experts have solved over the past 12 years.Case studies
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News releases, research magazines, employee newsletters and more - dating back to the 1950s.Publications

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Research “For the Sake of People": Early Social Entrepreneurs

An increasing amount of EES’ attention turned to "research for the sake of people"—research that revolves around the idea that science should devote more energy toward solving some of society's problems, rather than simply engaging in research for the sake of science.

Peanut Hull Charcoal Reactor at Dawson, Georgia. First installation built by Tech-Air Corporation, licensee of the EES process, 1972.

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A program of internally supported research was initiated. Its objective was to stimulate creative new ideas with potential for external sponsorship. But improving the human condition wasn't exactly a new idea at EES:

The late 1960s were a period of student unrest on many college campuses. University research centers that performed sensitive U.S. Department of Defense work were often targeted by students. But at Georgia Tech, all was quiet. "I thank our conservative student body for that," said EES Director Maurice Long, in 1968.

Maurice Long, director of the EES, 1968-1975

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Long, one of the architects of Tech's world-class reputation in radar and wave propagation, brought an emphasis on graduate education. "I've always thought of a research organization to be like a university hospital—a teaching organization," he explained. Along those lines, he added, came the idea that an effective research organization like EES must nurture a multidisciplinary approach.

At the GTRI Medical Device Test Center, scientists tested more than 1,200 pacemakers in developing shielding and filters to protect pacemaker electronics from outside interference. Their work continues today, as researchers help manufacturers improve compatibility between electronic medical implants and the growing number of electronic article surveillance systems used to track inventory and reduce theft. 

Researcher Ralph Herkert in GTRI's Medical Device Test Center, 2007.

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A number of private companies, as always, sought EES’ assistance to solve a variety of problems in the 1960s. Among the diverse projects were:

One of the most unusual projects involved Loveable Brassiere Company. It retained EES to help with bra design.