Wilson Greatbatch | 2006 WNY Scientist

WilsonGreybatchOn April 7, 1958 Dr. William C. Chardack, Dr. Andrew Gage, and I implanted the first self-powered implantable cardiac pacemaker in an experimental animal. In October of that year, Dr. Ake Senning in Stockholm attempted the first human implant. That device worked only 3 hours and then failed. A replacement device worked 8 days, after which the patient survived unstimulated for 3 years.

Two years later, in 1960, Dr. Chardack, Dr. Gage, and I implanted the first successful cardiac pacemaker in a human being. Since then, countless people’s lives have been saved.


Former President of GentCorp Ltd and Greatbatch Research Institute, Lancaster, NY


  • SVO (straight vegetable oil) for powering diesel engines
  • Leadership in Transportation and Energy: beginning with Niagara Falls and the Erie Canal  progressing up to Buffalo’s
    leadership in automotive work at the turn of the century
  • Buffalo’s leadership in air transportation between WWI and WWII
    Born:  September 6, 1919 in Buffalo, New York


  • over 100 articles to science journals
  • holds 323 Patents (Foreign and United States)
  • Philanthropist, has donated funds for Buildings at Houghton College and in the College (all or partial) tuition for over 2,500 students


  • attended State Teacher’s College, 1940 (before WWII)
  • BSEE (Bachelor of Electrical Engineering) Cornell University 1950
  • MSEE (Master of Electrical Engineering at SUNY at Buffalo) 1957

Honorary Doctorates received in:

  • Science, Houghton College, 1971
  • Engineering, SUNY at Buffalo, 1984
  • Science, Clarkson University, 1987
  • Science, Roberts Weslyn College, 1988
  • Science, D’Youville College, 2002
  • Science, Washington & Jefferson College, 2005
  • Science, Canisius College, 2006

National Hall of Fame and election to:

  • Laufman Award, 1982
  • Distinguished Service Award, NSPE-1984
  • Holley Medal, ASME-1986
  • Pacemaker Award, Prince Rainier of Monaco-1988
  • Chancellor Morton Medal, University at Buffalo-1990
  • National Medal of Technology, President Bush-1990
  • Vladimir Karapetoff Award, Eta Kappa Nu-1992
  • Paul Harris Fellow Rotary International-1993
  • Washington Award, Western Engineering Society-1995
  • Lemelson/MIT Career Achievement Award-1996
  • Russ Prize-2001


  • AAAS
  • ASME
  • American College Cardiology
  • Royal Society of Health
  • American Society of Angiology
  • American Institute Medical and Biological Engineering (Founder)
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • Member, NAE
  • Association for Advancement Medical Instrumentation
  • Sigma Xi
  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Eta Kappa NU