Gregorio Zara - Filipino Scientist

Gregorio Zara Invented the Videophone

More details Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander using an Ericsson videophone to speak with Lennart Hyland, a popular TV show host (1969)
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Gregorio Zara was born in Lipa City, Batangas and is one of the best-known scientists from the Philippines. In 1926, Gregorio Zara graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1927, he received his Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan. In 1930, he graduated with a Doctorate of Physics from Sorbonne University. On September 30, 1954, Gregorio Zara's alcohol-fueled airplane engine was successfully tested and flown at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Scientific Contributions of Gregorio Zara

Filipino scientist Gregorio Y. Zara (D.Sc. Physics) invented, made improvements to, or discovered the following:

  • invented the two-way television telephone or videophone (1955) patented as a "photo phone signal separator network"
  • discovered the physical law of electrical kinetic resistance called the Zara effect (around 1930)
  • invented an airplane engine that ran on plain alcohol as fuel (1952)
  • improved methods of producing solar energy including creating new designs for a solar water heater (SolarSorber), a sun stove, and a solar battery (1960s)
  • invented a propeller-cutting machine (1952)
  • designed a microscope with a collapsible stage
  • helped design the robot Marex X-10

Gregorio Zara's list of accomplishments also includes the following awards:

  • Presidential Diploma of Merit
  • Distinguished Service Medal (1959) for his pioneering works and achievements in solar energy research, aeronautics, and television.
  • Presidential Gold Medal and Diploma of Honor for Science and Research (1966)
  • Cultural Heritage Award for Science Education and Aero Engineering (1966)