Stan has combined brilliant science with a deep commitment to social justice and he has pursued both with exceptional vision and courage. They are fully intertwined in his mind and his heart. They are not separate sides of Stan, they are Stan.

If the term were not already used in physics, we might call the passionate combination of science and social justice: Ovonics. His path has never been easy. When the times were toughest, when the night was darkest, Stan persevered.

Mr. Ovshinsky, holding a piece of the thin film photovoltaic technology that he and his colleagues developed, at his talk on April 8.

Stan holding a piece of thin film photovoltaic technology at UC Berkeley.

Stan and civil rights hero Rosa Parks in Detroit.

Stan and civil rights hero Rosa Parks in Detroit. Image from Ovshinsky Family.


Since it's his birthday, let me begin with a verse by Ralph Chaplin, the IWW poet and troubadour, who at times wrote from a jail cell and who Stan reads in difficult times.

Chaplin wrote in "No Truce for Us":

"Stubborn we stood against the stars to span
The night with dreams, our faces to the gale"

Stan has spanned a lifetime with dreams, surmounted the fiercest gales, and turned those dreams into profound new realities.