Distinguished Alumni Awards

John Arvy Gardner, Jr.

John Arvy Gardner, Jr.
To John Arvy Gardner, Jr., for bringing the world of science and mathematics to the blind through pioneering technologies that allow visually impaired scientists to read formerly inaccessible materials.

Chief Technology Officer, ViewPlus Technologies, Inc., Corvallis, OR

  • BA, 1961, Physics and Mathematics, Rice University
  • MS, 1963, Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • PhD, 1966, Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Distinguished scientist and professor emeritus of physics at Oregon State University, John Gardner is an expert in materials science who has made important contributions to the development of perturbed-angle-correlation spectroscopy and time-differential perturbed-angle correlation spectroscopy. Known for research on the properties and processing of materials at elevated temperatures, he has frequently published on the microscopic structure of materials using nuclear hyperfine methods and developed experimental methods employing perturbed-angle-correlation spectroscopy, Mossbauer spectroscopy, NMR, nuclear quadrupolar resonance, and magnetic susceptibility.

At the age of 48, Gardner lost his eyesight, leading him to develop creative new tools and techniques to access data and carry on his ambitious research program. While a professor of physics and an investigator in the Center for Advanced Materials Research at Oregon State, Gardner founded its acclaimed Science Access Project, which created assistive technologies for visually impaired students. In 1996, he founded ViewPlus Technologies, now recognized as a world leader in the development of assistive technology for people with sensory and learning disabilities.

Gardner has worked proactively with industry to make new technologies accessible to the blind. He was a leader in the national effort that forced Microsoft to incorporate accessibility features in their operating systems, allowing users to employ assistive software and hardware with Microsoft applications. He also worked with Hewlett Packard’s Specialty Printing Systems group to incorporate HP inkjet technology into ViewPlus’s new ink and Braille products, the Pro Ink Attachment and Emprint Color Tactile Printer.

In addition, Gardner has contributed significantly to the development of MathML, which has become the underlying language for scientific notation and publications on the Web, and to DotsPlus Braille, a two-dimensional Braille that expresses complex mathematical equations in a format similar to standard print math notation. Other innovations include a graphing calculator augmented with audio and tactile feedback that operates on a flexible Windows platform; the Tiger Braille printer, which embosses tactile text and graphics onto standard Braille paper and plastic media; and the IVEO Tactile-Audio System, a hands-on learning system incorporating touch screen technology. Gardner's collaboration with the American Physical Society, a leader in using accessible markup languages for publishing, will make text, math, and figures in APS online journals accessible to people with visual or other print disabilities.

Gardner has a long history of collaboration with the Division of Resources and Education Services at the University of Illinois, both by serving as a colloquium speaker for physics and by addressing the campus working group on accessibility in the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

Current as of 2012.