Resolution K1002-2009

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



  • Feb 22, 2010: adopted


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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