Wilson Greatbatch

Heritage Moments: A Clarence engineer and the invention that saved millions of lives

Mar 28, 2016
University at Buffalo

One day in 1956, Wilson Greatbatch, a 37-year-old assistant professor of electrical engineering at UB, was working on an oscilloscope at a chronic disease research center on Main Street. He reached to get a brown-black-orange resistor out of a box of tiny components but accidentally pulled out a brown-black-green one instead. Not noticing that he had a 1,000-kiloohm resistor rather than a 10-kiloohm, he installed it. The oscilloscope started pulsing to an astonishingly specific rhythm.