John S. Mayo
National Medal of Technology and Innovation
For providing the technological foundation for information-age communications, and for overseeing the conversion of the national switched telephone network from analog to a digital-based technology for virtually all long-distance calls both nationwide and between continents.
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BirthFebruary 26, 1930
Country of BirthUSA
Key ContributionsLong-Distance Phone Calls
Switching Telephone Network From Analog To Digital
Awarded byGeorge H. W. Bush
EducationNorth Carolina State University
Areas of ImpactCommunication & Information
AffiliationsAT&T Bell Laboratories
John S. Mayo’s storied career in electronics can be traced back to his fascination in the 1930s and 1940s with amateur radio. Amateur radio, at the time, was a way for science enthusiasts to talk with each other. Those conversations, he told an interviewer in 1999, pushed him to study electrical engineering in college and “go through to a Ph.D.’’
In the decades after receiving that doctorate in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University in 1955, Mayo’s name would be attached to some of the most technologically-important research on projects ranging from satellites to sonar and computers to telephone networks. He received 12 patents.
Mayo joined Bell Labs out of college and worked on a number of projects. His work with the first transistorized digital computer pioneered the use of transistors. His research also played a role in the development of the Telstar satellite system and the world’s first long-distance digital switching system.
In 1991 Mayo became the seventh president of Bell Labs. Under his leadership Bell launched programs in fiber optics, wireless communication and video.
By Robert Warren