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Overdue Honors

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It was good to see two men with strong Utah ties recently recognized for the enormous impact each of them has had on our world. We speak of Philo T. Farnsworth and Dr. Willem Kolff.

Farnsworth, of course, was the man who invented television.

For many years, though, his role in TV’s beginnings went unrecognized. Others got the credit. He died in relative obscurity in 1971 in Salt Lake County.

At the Emmy Awards, a few weeks ago, the television industry finally stood up and identified Farnsworth as the "Father of Television." It was a proud moment for his wife, Pem, who took his bow and received his applause. She, after all, played a role too, as the first women ever to appear on a television screen.

Then there is Dr. Kolff. Some call him "the father of artificial internal organs."

The other day in New York he received the Lasker Award, America’s version of the Nobel Prize. His invention of a kidney dialysis machine literally changed kidney disease from a fatal to a treatable illness.

During his 30-years at the University of Utah, Dr. Kolff also played a significant role in research on artificial hearts, eyes and ears.

Farnsworth’s recognition came more than 30 years after his death; Kolff’s honor at the age of 91, after a lifetime of creative biomedical tinkering.

In KSL’s view, the honors were well deserved . . . and long over due.

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