Stan Ovshinsky (1922-), an American inventor, discovered what is now known as the Ovshinsky effect, by which a specific glassy thin film switches from a nonconductor to a semiconductor upon application of a minimum voltage. This led to a new field within materials science, which in turn produced important advances in the engineering of semiconductors, solar energy systems, and electric cars. Ovshinsky and his lab possess more than 250 U.S. patents, the three most notable being: (1) a flexible, thin film solar cell, called a 'shingle' (1970s); (2) the Ovonic battery, an environmentally friendly nickel hydride battery (1982); and (3) a scooter powered by solid hydrogen fuel. Photovoltaics developed by Ovshinsky's company were installed in the Russian space station MIR in 1998. His awards include Time Magazine's "Hero of the Planet", which he received 1999.