Lonnie Johnson

Carol Naughton
Lonnie Johnson is a rare independent engineer and inventor working outside of the scientific establishment — and on the cusp of creating a green technology revolution.

Lonnie Johnson is the true creative engineer, whose works have added to our understanding of the solar system and to the fun we can have in our backyards. He holds over 80 patents, ranging from technology he developed for the Galileo mission to Jupiter, to one of the most popular toys of all time, the Super Soaker.

After 19 years with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Air ForceJ. Johnson decided to pursue other "it can't be done" challenges. Through his current companies, Excellatron and Johnson Electro-Mechanical Systems, Johnson is working at the edge of energy innovation. He has created one of his most ambitious and important inventions to date: the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Converter, a solid-state engine that converts thermal energy into electricity with twice the efficiency of current methods, and with no moving parts. And Excellatron has created a thin-film solid-state battery that is the next generation of energy storage technology.