The Lemelson Foundation awards several prizes yearly to inventors in United States. The largest is the Lemelson-MIT Prize which was endowed in 1994 by Jerome H. Lemelson, and is administered through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The winner receives $500,000, making it the largest cash prize for invention in the U.S.
From 1995 through 2006, the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award and the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize were also presented along with the Lemelson-MIT prize. In 2007 the Lifetime Achievement award was replaced with the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability. In 2007 the Lemelson Foundation also introduced two additional $30,000 student prizes to be awarded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A student prize for the California Institute of Technology was added in 2009.
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“Then, though I prize my friends, I cannot afford to talk with them and study their visions, lest I lose my own. It would indeed give me a certain household joy to quit this lofty seeking, this spiritual astronomy, or search of stars, and come down to warm sympathies with you; but then I know well I shall mourn always the vanishing of my mighty gods.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)