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Renowned inventor and author comes to WMU

Oct. 26, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Famed inventor and author Ray Kurzweil, will speak at Western Michigan University at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3, in Room 4010 of the College of Health and Human Services building.

Kurzweil's talk is part of the Burian Lecture Series, named after the founding dean of the College of Health and Human Services. The event is free and open to the public.

As one of the leading inventors of our time, Kurzweil has worked in such areas as music synthesis, speech and character recognition, reading technology, virtual reality and cybernetic art. He was the principal developer of the first omni-font optical character recognition software, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, and the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments.

Kurzweil, whose Web site www.kurzweilai.net has over one million readers, was the recipient of MIT's $500,000 Lemelson Prize, the world's largest prize for innovation. That 2001 award was made in honor of "the breadth and scope of his inventive work and for his commitment to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities through technology."

He received the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor in technology, from

President Bill Clinton in 1999 during a White House ceremony. And in 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office. He has received 12 honorary doctorates as well as honors from three U.S. presidents.

His books include "The Age of Intelligent Machines," "The Age of Spiritual Machines," and "Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever." Three of Kurzweil's books have been national best sellers, and "The Age of Spiritual Machines" has been translated into nine languages and was the #1 best selling book on Amazon in science. His newest book, published by Viking Press, is titled "The Singularity is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology."

For more information, contact Kurt Haenicke at kurt.haenicke@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2654.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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