Immigration has long been—and remains—a key driver of American innovation.
From telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell (Scotland) to Zoom founder Eric Yuan (China), many of our most celebrated inventors and entrepreneurs were born elsewhere before developing successful technologies in the United States. In this three-day webinar series, we explored the history, impact, and contemporary experiences of foreign-born inventors. Our speakers—historians, economists, policymakers, and immigrant inventors—examined the factors that have made the United States an attractive destination for aspiring inventors and the attitudes and mindsets that have driven their success. We also considered how foreign-born inventors have been central to historical and contemporary policy debates concerning immigration, innovation, American competitiveness, and national security.
November 1, 2, and 3, 2021
1–2:30 p.m. ET daily
The National Museum of American History welcomes visitors of all ages and abilities. CART captioning was available for this online program. Additional accommodations are available upon request; please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Circular image above: Leo Baekeland (1863–1944) emigrated from his native Belgium to the United States in 1889. His invention of the first fully synthetic plastic—Bakelite—was dubbed “The Material of a Thousand Uses,” with applications ranging from electrical insulators to telephones to jewelry.