April 2, 2007



Ray Kurzweil, principal developer of the first CCD flat-bed scanner and numerous inventions, will deliver the 2007 Farfel Distinguished Lecture at 7 p.m., April 4 in Cullen Performance Hall. The lecture is free, but R.S.V.P. is required. Call 713-743-2255 or visit to R.S.V.P.

Kurzweil has been described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and by Forbes as “the ultimate thinking machine.” Inc. magazine ranked him eighth among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS included him as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries.

As one of the leading inventors of our time, Kurzweil was the principal developer of the first omni-font optical character recognition system, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the sound of the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition system.

Among Kurzweil’s many honors, he is the recipient of the $500,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Lemelson Prize, the world’s largest prize for innovation. In 1999, he received the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest honor in technology. In 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Kurzweil has received 13 honorary doctorates, as well as honors from three U.S. presidents. He has written five books, including four national best sellers. “The Age of Spiritual Machines” has been translated into nine languages and was the No. 1 best-selling book on in science. His latest book, “The Singularity is Near,” was a New York Times best seller.

The Farfel Distinguished Lecture series is UH’s most prestigious lectureship. Designed to bring provocative thinkers in every field to the university and to the Houston community, it is endowed through a gift from the family of philanthropists Aaron and Esther Farfel in their memory. Aaron Farfel served on the UH System Board of Regents for 16 years and was chairman from 1971 to 1979.

Staff Reports

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at