Honoring Esther Sans Takeuchi upon the occasion of receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation

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  • 22 / Feb / 2010

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative



LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION honoring Esther Sans Takeuchi upon the occasion
of receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the
nation's top award for technological achievement

WHEREAS, It is the practice of this Legislative Body to publicly commend
those outstanding individuals within the State of New York whose life-
long dedication to scientific research results in groundbreaking discov-
eries which improve the lives of the citizens of New York State, as well
as those of the entire Nation and World; and
WHEREAS, Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with its long-
standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly proud to honor
Esther Sans Takeuchi upon the occasion of receiving the National Medal
of Technology and Innovation, the nation's top award for technological
achievement; and
WHEREAS, A brilliant scientist, Esther Sans Takeuchi received this
most prestigious award at the White House on Wednesday, October 7, 2009,
making her only the third woman in 25 years to be named an individual
recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation; and
WHEREAS, A University at Buffalo engineering professor, Esther Sans
Takeuchi was recognized for her seminal development of the silver vana-
dium oxide battery that powers the majority of the world's lifesaving
implantable cardiac defibrillators and for her brilliant innovations in
other medical battery technologies that have greatly improved the health
and quality of life of millions of people; and
WHEREAS, The daughter of political refugees from Latvia, Esther Sans
Takeuchi's great achievement stands as a testament to the travails and
accomplishments of her parents, the late Mary and Rudolf Sans; and
WHEREAS, Once a prominent family in Riga, Latvia, Mary and Rudolf Sans
fled to Germany at the end of World War II to escape Russian occupation;
they spent several years in a refugee camp before moving to America in
1951; and
WHEREAS, They settled in Kansas City, where Esther Sans was born; her
father, also an engineer, first took a job working at a coffin factory,
however, he remained undeterred and eventually found employment in his
field of electrical engineering in Akron, Ohio; and
WHEREAS, As a young girl, Esther Sans Takeuchi followed her father
everywhere wanting to see everything he did as he fixed things around
the house, and her father was happy to oblige; as a result, Esther felt
as though she could accomplish and achieve anything she set her mind to;
WHEREAS, After graduating from High School, Esther Sans Takeuchi want-
ed to continue following in her father's footsteps and pursued her love
for science; undaunted by the fact that she was entering a male-dominat-
ed field, she attended the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a
Bachelor of Arts degree in both Chemistry and History in 1975; and
WHEREAS, Esther Sans Takeuchi then furthered her education and earned
her Ph.D., from Ohio State University in Organic Chemistry in 1981;
while attending Ohio University, she met her husband, Kenneth Takeuchi,
and together, they moved to Buffalo, New York; and
WHEREAS, In 1984, Esther Sans Takeuchi became employed at Greatbatch
Inc., the Buffalo-area company founded by Wilson Greatbatch, who won the
National Medal of Technology in 1990 for inventing the pacemaker; and
WHEREAS, At Greatbatch Inc., Esther Sans Takeuchi undertook a tremen-
dous but welcoming challenge, developing a strong, durable yet safe
battery to power implantable cardiac defibrillators, which jolt the
heart so it does not stop beating in a sudden, fatal cardiac arrest; and

WHEREAS, The new battery had to be a million times stronger than the
typical pacemaker battery, which merely keeps the heart beating at a
normal rhythm; within just a few years, she and her team had done just
that; and
WHEREAS, Esther Sans Takeuchi has been refining the batteries ever
since, accumulating at least 140 patents and more importantly, saving
countless lives; and
WHEREAS, Prior to her work at Greatbatch, Inc., Esther Sans Takeuchi
worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at both the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the State University of New York at
Buffalo; and
WHEREAS, Today, as the mother of one of medicine's greatest
inventions, Esther Sans Takeuchi is a distinguished Professor of
Advanced Power Sources at the University at Buffalo, a position she has
held since 2007; and
WHEREAS, Throughout her extraordinary career, Esther Sans Takeuchi has
received a multitude of awards, some of which include: Astellas USA
Foundation Award (2008), Lincoln Gries Distinguished Alumni Award
(2006), Inventor of the Year Award, Physical Sciences, 3rd Place (2005),
Pioneers of Science Award (2004), Achievement in Health Care Award
(2003), Woman of Distinction Award (2003), Inventor of the Year Award,
Physical Sciences, 1st and 3rd Place (2000), 68th Jacob Schoellkopf
Medal (1998), Visionary of the Year, Wilson Greatbatch Ltd. (1997),
Battery Division Technology Award, Electrochemical Society (1995), and
Woman of the Year, Category Science (1990); and
WHEREAS, In addition, Esther Sans Takeuchi has been recognized by USA
TODAY and, the National Academy of Engineering; she became a Fellow of
the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 1999,
and was inducted into the Western New York Women's Hall of Fame in 1998;
WHEREAS, A pioneering role model, Esther Sans Takeuchi urges women
interested in the sciences to never give up their dreams and to stay in
the game; she attributes much of her success to just doing it, putting
one foot in front of the other every day, something she has been doing
for decades now; and
WHEREAS, Individuals such as Esther Sans Takeuchi, who have given so
selflessly of their skills and dedication in performing vital scientific
research to bring us closer to better understanding and protecting our
health, are worthy and due the highest commendation for their contrib-
utions to all of humanity; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
honor Esther Sans Takeuchi upon the occasion of receiving the National
Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation's top award for techno-
logical achievement; and be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transrnitted to Esther Sans Takeuchi.


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