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"The cathode ray tube, like the brontosaurus, will become extinct, and for the same reason: too much bulk, very little brain." - T. P. Brody, 1979
Thomas Peter Brody was born in Budapest, Hungary on 18 April 1920. As a child he had a keen interest in sports, particularly swimming (in Olympic-qualifying times), rowing, skiing and a passion for music. In 1938 he left his parents and two younger brothers behind to train as a master printer at the London College of Printing, intending to take over the family business. Brody also studied piano at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and as a concert pianist gave recitals in venues including St Martin-in-the-Fields.
He served in the British Army during and after the second world war, working as a designer/draftsman and in the Special Operations Unit. After being demobilized with the rank of staff captain, Brody met his future wife Maude at a Fabian Society dance in London. Their shared love of music cemented the relationship and they married in 1952.
T. P. Brody received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1953 from the University of London. From 1953 to 1959, he worked as Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University. He was offered the opportunity to work for the Research Laboratories of Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1959 and moved with his wife and young daughter to Pittsburgh, PA that year.
From 1959-79 he did theoretical work on tunnel diodes, semiconductor device theory and experiment, injection luminescence, field emission, pattern recognition, later turning his interest to thin film technology.
Over the years 1968-79, Brody developed many electronic uses for thin film transistors, including flexible circuits, aircraft power controls, industrial timers and others. His work at Westinghouse culminated in his invention and full development of active matrix flat panel display technology. His department built the world’s first Active Matrix (AM) LCD displays in 1972, the first AM-EL displays in 1973 and demonstrated real-time video imagery on both types in 1974. He coined the term ”active matrix” and introduced it into the literature in 1975.
When Westinghouse cancelled the research program in 1979, Dr. Brody resigned, and two years later founded Panelvision Corporation, the world’s first AMLCD company. In 1983 the company introduced the first AMLCD products into the US market. Panelvision was acquired by Litton Systems in 1985, and after a period of consulting, Dr. Brody founded Magnascreen Corporation, oriented towards very large area displays, in 1988.
Dr. Brody left Magnascreen in 1990 to form Active Matrix Associates, a consulting group, and over the period 1991-97 worked on a number of classified projects for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 1998, in collaboration with two former Westinghouse colleagues, he invented a process for fabricating low cost thin film electronic circuits by purely additive processes. In 2002 he founded Amedeo Corporation (now Advantech US) dedicated to the exploitation of additive technology. The company is concentrating on the development and eventual commercial production of low cost active matrix backplanes for the emerging display technologies. He was active as Chief Scientist of Advantech US until his death on 18 September.
Dr. Brody was a Fellow of the Society for Information Display, and a recipient of many awards in recognition of his pioneering work, which became the foundation of a major new industry. He published over 70 scientific papers and received more than 60 patents.
SID Special Recognition Award* 1976
SID Fellowship* 1983
SID Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize* 1987
Rank Prize in Optoelectronics (UK) 1988
Eduard Rhein Prize (Germany) 1988
IEEE Jun-Ichi Nishizawa Medal 2011
*The first person in history to receive all three major SID awards
He was a devoted husband to his beloved wife Maude for 58 years and a loving father to his four children Louise, Francine, Christopher and Sarah. Throughout his distinguished career family remained a focal point of his life. He is survived by his younger brother Ferenc, his children and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 5PM on Saturday September 24 at McCabe Bros Funeral Home, 6214 Walnut Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.
For further information on his life and work please contact Louise Brody on (412) 362-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A graphical timeline of his life can be seen at http://cbrody.com/tpb.