Harvard University

At 87, this Baltimore inventor has 250 patents to his name — and he’s still at it

At 87, this Baltimore inventor has 250 patents to his name — and he’s still at it

Before becoming a lauded inventor of one of the most pivotal technological devices of our time, James “Jim” E. West said, his journey started simply — with curiosity. Gadgets with screws or nuts — including his grandfather’s pocket watch — were often endangered because West wanted to learn their inner workings, and with pliers or screwdriver in hand, he would take them apart.

If it was broken, “it was mine to do whatever I wanted with it,” said West, an acoustician and professor of engineering at the Johns Hopkins University. “Curiosity has always been my motivation.”

Today, the curiosity of the 87-year-old award-winning inventor, with more than 250 patents to his name...

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