OSA | Living History

James L. Fergason

OSA Awards & Distinctions



OSA Fellow James L Fergason attended the University of Missouri, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in 1956. After serving in the army, his career began. He joined Westinghouse Research Labs in Pennsylvania, where he began a lifelong career working on liquid crystals. He left Westinghouse in the mid-1960s and became the associate director of the Liquid Crystal Institute of Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio. While working in this position, Fergason developed an improved liquid crystal display (LCD).

In 1970 Fergason left Kent State University and formed the International Liquid Crystal Company. Fergason's company used his invention to create the first liquid crystal display watch in history.  Fergason eventually left the International Liquid Crystal Company and began to work as an independent inventor. In the late 1990s, he rejoined the International Liquid Crystal Company, now known as LXD, Inc, as the firm's chief scientist. Fergason has received over one hundred patents for his various inventions, however the practical LCD has been his most famous and important one. Because of the LCD, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in Akron, Ohio, inducted Fergason in 1998. In 2006, Fergason received a $500,000 award from the MIT-Lemelson Program for his LCD research. The following year, he received OSA’s David Richardson Medal.

He passed away in 2008.

James L. Fergason died on 9 December 2008, please see OSA's memorial entry.



Document Created: 18 Sep 2020
Last Updated: 18 Sep 2020