These accomplishments go beyond invoking the Invisible Man. Drawn from the worlds of research, business and policymaking, a good number of the names on our list have in common an interest in leading technological innovation as a force for the public good: A fundamental understanding of the molecular processes that produce the mind-erasing devastation of Alzheimer's. A hybrid car that recharges by simply plugging into the wall. A billionaire who gives up much of his fortune to improve the state of global health.
A group of scientists have detailed how to create materials that can redirect light around an object and make it invisible. This possible precursor to the ultimate camouflage ?demonstrates the depth of ingenuity of the 2006 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 50 awards.