The Unknown Inventor Whose Work Is Saving The Developing World

If you’re a lucky inventor, maybe you come up with one big thing that makes an impact on people.


Ashok Gadgil, the winner of the 2012 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation, has produced two inventions that have changed the lives of people in the developing world, and is now working on a third. How has he pulled this off?


It helps that Gadgil, a professor in the Department of Civil Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, has a science background. But his explanation is fairly simple: “In each case it was becoming aware of how serious the problem was and then being aware that actually there is some technical solution that could help. It’s like you find a puzzle, but the nice thing about this puzzle is that if you solve it you’re making people’s lives better.”