SanDisk Founder Inducted in National Inventors Hall of Fame

SanDisk Founder Inducted in National Inventors Hall of Fame


San Jose, CA—Western Digital, parent company of SanDisk since 2016, announced that the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), inducted SanDisk founder Dr. Eli Harari into its 2017 class. Dr. Harari, now retired, was SanDisk’s chief executive officer for 22 years.

Dr. Harari was recognized for his groundbreaking inventions that helped lead to the development and also commercialization of flash storage. He was formally inducted during a ceremony last week at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

“The breakthrough storage technologies pioneered by Eli as well as his ability to recognize the broad applications for flash memory were instrumental in the creation of the flash industry and forever changed how we consume, store and share data,” said Steve Milligan, CEO of Western Digital.

“In addition, his ingenuity and bold vision helped to firmly establish the SanDisk brand around the world. Eli truly embodies the title ‘innovator,’ and I am sincerely honored to congratulate him on this prestigious achievement.”

Dr. Eli Harari accepts his medal at the National Inventors Hall of Fame’s 45th Annual Induction Ceremony.

“Dr. Harari’s innovations and also leadership played a pivotal role in the development and proliferation of flash memory,” added Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice president of memory technology at Western Digital. “The storage technologies he helped pioneer transformed the consumer electronics industry and continue to expand the possibilities of data in a wide range of new markets and technology areas, from the data center to the Internet of Things. I am proud to congratulate my friend and role model, Eli, on this well-deserved accolade.”

Dr. Harari as well as 14 other elite engineers, scientists and inventors were selected for induction into NIHF. Their merits include groundbreaking, patented inventions that had a “meaningful contribution to society.” Among his achievements, Dr. Harari co-invented System-Flash and invented the floating gate EEPROM—a significant innovation that enabled data storage in flash memory.

Dr. Harari at NIHF Induction Ceremony

His work served as the foundation for transforming flash memory into a highly versatile and portable mass-storage media. It also led to the development and commercialization of the compact, low-cost flash memory that is today found in everything from imaging equipment and computing devices to connected IoT devices.

“Dr. Harari’s important work in data storage has been fundamental to development of technologies that today are at the heart our digital lives,” said Mike Oister, CEO of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. “We are proud to welcome to the National Inventors Hall of Fame Dr. Harari as well as the rest of this year’s new class of industry pioneers whose patented innovations have furthered our nation.”

National Inventors Hall of Fame

This year’s inductees and also their notable innovations will be showcased in the NIHF Museum in Alexandria, Virginia. Inductees will participate in NIHF educational programs as well as competitions. These programs strive to inspire and challenge the next generation of young inventors in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The NIHF was founded in 1973. It has inducted more than 500 industry pioneers who have conceived, patented as well as advanced the greatest technological achievements in the United States.