Birth Date – 02/10/1931
Birth place – Prince Edward County , Virginia
- He was a inquisitive young boy , fascinated with electronics and always ready to take things apart to discover how they worked.
- When he was eight years old he attempted to repair a broken radio , confident that he had fixed the radio , he plugged it into a ceiling outlet and got electrocuted , his brother saved him from being critically hurt from the 120 volt shock , after the incident james west became intrigued by electronics and electricity.
- His father wanted him to go to medical school sense very few blacks were hired for science oriented careers.
- In 1953 West enrolled at Temple University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1957.
- Upon his graduation West was hired Full time by Bell Labs as a acoustical scientist specializing in electroacoustics , physical and architectural acoustics , he worked for bell labs as a intern while he was in school.
- In 1960 west teamed up with Gerhard M Sessler , the two created a microphone that was inexpensive , could hold a charge without having to be connected to a power source , was compact and durable and could be applied to common uses in the office or in the home.
- The final model of the invention was finished in 1962 and on January 14 1964 , the pair received patent number 3,118,022 for their “electroacoustic transducer”
- By 1968 the microphone was in wide scale production and was quickly adopted as the industry standard
- Approximately 90 % of microphones in use today are based on this invention and almost all telephones utilize it , as well as tape recorders, camcorders baby monitors and hearing aids.
- West obtained more than 100 U.S and foreign patents over his lifetime and contributed to hundreds of technical papers and books on acoustics and physics.
- In 1999 west was inducted into the Inventors hall of fame
- In 1995 he was inducted into the inventor of the year (by the state of new jersey)
- In 1998 he was elected as the president of the acoustical society of America
- In 2000 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the new jersey institute of technology.
- He undoubtedly is proud that he was able to exceed his fathers expectations.