Earl E. Bakken

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Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Earl E. Bakken

Inducted 2007

Earl E. Bakken, winner of such prestigious honors as the National Academy of Engineering’s Rust Prize and the IEEE Centennial Medal, has been fascinated by electricity ever since he was a toddler. Inspired by the movie Frankenstein, he built a telephone system, radios, and even a robot as a child, always dreaming of ways to use electricity to restore and improve life. His vision and genius have made those dreams come true. 

To pursue those dreams, he founded Medtronic in 1949 and invented the battery-powered pacemaker in 1957. He is widely credited with creating the global medical device industry, which has saved millions of lives and employs hundreds of thousands of people. Throughout his life, he has sought new ways to use technology to educate and benefit humankind, creating, inspiring, and supporting hospitals, museums, and educational and research institutions. This commitment, together with his lifelong love of radio, led him to help found the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting. His leadership drives the Museum’s mission of inspiration, education, and preservation of the history of broadcasting and electronic communication to this day.

Inducted October 27, 2007