IBM of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., announced that IBM research scientist Robert H. Dennard was the recipient of the National Academy of Engineering’s 2009 Charles Stark Draper Prize. Recognized as one of the world’s preeminent awards for engineering achievement, the prize honors an engineer whose accomplishment has significantly impacted society by improving the quality of life, providing the ability to live freely and comfortably, and/or permitting access to information. Dennard was recognized for his invention and contributions to the development of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), used universally in computers and other data-processing and communications systems. The 1968 invention of DRAM using one-transistor cells paved the way for the worldwide explosion of computing and for the increase of data storage in small devices. Dennard’s ability to use only a single metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) transistor – a device that conducts electricity, amplifying the charge as the electricity is passed along – allowed his memory cell to be much smaller and simpler in design than its predecessor. The availability of cheap, high-density memory has enabled tremendous growth in computing over the past 40 years and has played a major role in embedding computers into everyday devices such as cell phones, mp3 players, game machines sensors and more.