Innovators have long called Pittsburgh home. Here's a look at 20 men and women whose contributions in science, medicine, journalism and the arts resulted in significant change.
The pioneering female newspaper reporter born Elizabeth Cochran grew up in Cochran's Mills, Armstrong County, and began her career at age 18 as a writer for The Pittsburgh Dispatch.
After joining the New York World in 1887, Bly feigned insanity to be committed to the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island. Reforms of the deplorable living conditions there followed publication of her story.
Bly -- whose pen name came from a song written by another Pittsburgher, Stephen Foster -- famously beat fictional character Phileas Fogg's travel record in Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days." Readers followed her reports as she made the journey in just over 72 days.
Working from a factory on Perrysville Avenue in Pittsburgh's North Side, the inventor and astronomer developed a mirror silvering technique in 1880 that made telescopes more powerful.
His John A. Brashear Co. made precision mirrors, lenses and other instruments used in many observatories that generated wider interest in outer space.
Brashear directed the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh from 1898 to 1900, when he became chancellor of the school that now is the University of Pittsburgh.
The Scottish-born steel magnate and philanthropist developed an inexpensive and efficient way to mass produce steel in the late 19th century, using Bessemer furnace technology from England and integrating suppliers of raw materials.
Carnegie, who had worked as a Pennsylvania Railroad superintendent, founded the Keystone Bridge Works with several partners in 1865, after the Civil War increased demand for iron.
The Carnegie Steel Co. began a decade later, and Carnegie eventually owned an unprecedented network of iron and operations. Financier J.P. Morgan bought Carnegie's holdings in 1900, and formed the United States Steel Corp.
Believing that "a rich man who dies rich dies in disgrace," Carnegie donated more than $350 million to educational, cultural and peace institutions.
(1958 - )
A billionaire entrepreneur who got his start selling computer software, Cuban invests in technology companies, owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and is a sometime-actor and TV personality who also chairs and co-founded the pioneering high-definition network HDNet.
Cuban grew up in Mt. Lebanon, a Pittsburgh suburb, and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1981 from Indiana University.
After working briefly for a Dallas software retailer, he started MicroSolutions as a computer system integrator and software reseller and sold it in 1990 to CompuServe. Cuban and a partner also founded Broadcast.com, which Yahoo! acquired in 1999.
He bought a majority stake in the Mavericks in 2000 from H. Ross Perot Jr., and has been fined by the NBA several times for criticizing game officials and the league. In July, a federal judge tossed out an insider trading lawsuit against Cuban, related to his sale of stock in a search engine company.
Scientist Rachel Carson's 1962 book, "Silent Spring," which warned of the dangers of DDT and other pesticides used in farming, continues to be hailed by environmentalists.
Time Magazine once named her one of the 100 most influential Americans.
Carson's childhood home in Springdale, north of Pittsburgh, is preserved as a museum. She graduated from what now is Chatham University in 1929, and Johns Hopkins University in 1932 with a master's in zoology.
In 1972, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT.
The Westinghouse Electric Co. engineer was a radio hobbyist who started broadcasting music in 1920 from a transmitter in his garage in Wilkinsburg.
Founder George Westinghouse learned that Conrad's pet project was gaining a following, and he secured a call sign.
Pioneering radio station KDKA-AM went on the air on Nov. 2, 1920, in time to broadcast Warren G. Harding's victory in the presidential election from a building in East Pittsburgh. KDKA remained part of Westinghouse Electric until 1996.
(1819 - 1880)
The Titusville region, north of Pittsburgh, became the birthplace of the nation's oil industry in 1859 after the Seneca Oil Co. hired the former train conductor to search for oil springs.
Before then, oil primarily was collected by skimming surface pools. Drake tried several times to find a significant reserve, and after his backers pulled out he continued work with several partners.
Drake used pipe to prevent his boreholes from collapsing, allowing the rig to go deeper, and on Aug. 27, 1859, he struck oil about 69 feet below the surface. An oil boom in the region followed, but Drake - who drilled only three wells - never profited from it.
George W. Ferris Jr.
(1859 - 1896)
The 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition showed off the inventor's namesake amusement ride.
An Illinois native, Ferris worked in the railroad industry and started GWG Ferris & Co. in Pittsburgh to develop metals for railroads and bridges.
Organizers of the exposition were looking to display something unique, and Ferris came up with a wheel that took riders high enough to view the entire fair complex. About 1.5 million riders at the exposition were the first to experience what now is a mainstay at amusement parks.
Dr. M. Stephen Heilman
(1933 - )
The physician and inventor founded a company in 1964 to sell an angiographic injector device for diagnosing heart disease that he built at his kitchen table.
Medrad Inc. since has become a major developer of medical products, and Tarentum, Pa.-born Heilman was recognized for also helping to develop the world's first implantable cardiac defibrillator in 1972.
The ICD, which detects and corrects heart arrhythmias in people at risk for sudden cardiac death, became available in 1985; former Vice President Dick Cheney has one.
Heilman later became a founder of Lifecor, a company that developed a wearable automatic defibrillator.
Henry J. Heinz
(1844 - 1919)
The food processor's innovations in making prepared sauces and vacuum-canned vegetables and other foods broadened Americans' diets.
Heinz, a Pittsburgh native, developed steam-pressure cooking, railroad refrigeration cars and vacuum canning techniques. His company started in Sharpsburg in 1869, but he moved it to Pittsburgh's North Side in 1882. His glass ketchup bottle was developed the same year.
His "57 varieties" slogan and pickle pins helped make the company a food industry icon. Heinz's company included 25 processing plants and hundreds of smaller operations by the time he died in 1919.
Dr. Philip Showalter Hench
(1896 - 1965)
The physician shared in the 1950 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine, for research into the use of a hormone later known as cortisone in the treatment of arthritis.
Hench, a city native, earned a medical degree in 1920 from the University of Pittsburgh and later headed a rheumatic disease service at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
His observation that arthritis patients had less pain if they became jaundiced or pregnant led to years of work to isolate "substance X," an adrenal hormone that the clinic's doctors began injecting into patients in the late 1940s. Starting in the 1950s, cortisone became a commonly used substance to treat inflammatory diseases.
(1976 - )
The chief executive and co-founder of YouTube earned a fine arts degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and worked for the PayPal payer service company early in his career.
A native of Selinsgrove, Pa., Hurley started the Internet phenomenon with two other coworkers from PayPal. The Web site that allows anyone with a videocamera and a computer to share personal videos launched in February 2005.
Google Inc. bought San Bruno, Calif.-based YouTube in October 2006 for $1.65 billion.
Samuel Pierpont Langley
The first director of the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh's North Side was known for his early experiments in aeronautics and other fields.
Langley headed the observatory starting in 1867, inventing a way to determine the exact time by the stars using the observatory's clock and a special telescope. He later made and sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad a telegraph system that connected to the clock.
Named the Smithsonian Institution's secretary in 1887, Langley studied flight and tried to fly test aircraft -- but nine days after one of his attempts, the Wright brothers made the first successful flight. Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., is named for him.
(1929 - 2007)
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, technology was developed from an idea the chemist drew on a napkin at a Pittsburgh area restaurant in the 1960s.
A University of Pittsburgh graduate, Lauterbur envisioned a magnet large enough to fit a person inside, to reveal medical conditions without the need for invasive surgery. Magnetic resonance technology at the time was used to study substances.
Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield shared the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 2003, for their research in the 1970s at Stony Brook University in New York that led to medical imaging techniques that are commonplace today.
The iconic Brooklyn Bridge was designed by this German immigrant, who became internationally famous for his wire rope suspension technology that revolutionized bridge construction.
Roebling, who had studied architecture and engineering, arrived in the United States in 1831 and later surveyed for railway lines from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. He developed a seven-strand wire rope to pull canal boats at his farm in Butler County.
After an 1845 fire destroyed much of downtown Pittsburgh, Roebling bid to replace a collapsed wooden bridge across the Monongahela River at cost, to test his wire-rope suspension design. Several other spans followed. He died while planning the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Dr. Jonas Salk
(1914 - 1995)
The University of Pittsburgh researcher created the polio vaccine, a top medical achievement of the 20th century that virtually wiped out the crippling and often fatal disease.
Salk worked on an influenza vaccine before arriving at Pitt's School of Medicine in 1947. There, he focused on a vaccine to stop polio, which typically struck children and at the height of its epidemic in 1952 reached 60,000 cases and 3,000 deaths in the United States.
His formula used a killed polio virus, and Salk inoculated his own wife and children along with hundreds of other volunteers during trials. He announced that the vaccine was safe and effective on April 12, 1955.
(1916 - 2001)
The Carnegie Mellon University professor's work in cognitive psychology and computer science made him a founder of artificial intelligence.
Fascinated with how people make decisions and solve problems, Simon used a computer to simulate human thinking and augment it. He and Allen Newell, then a doctoral student, invented a breakthrough programming language in 1955 that modeled problem-solving processes.
Simon won the 1978 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, for research into decision-making in that field, and during his five decades at CMU he took part in creating the computer science school and many other programs.
Dr. Thomas Starzl
(1926 - )
The "father of transplantation" performed the world's first successful liver transplant surgery in 1967 in Colorado, and helped build Pittsburgh's reputation as an organ transplant center starting in the 1980s.
Starzl, as chief of organ transplants at Presbyterian University Hospital, now UPMC Presbyterian, turned the complex liver replacement surgery into a common procedure. He performed or was involved in more than 10,000 organ transplants.
After stepping away from surgery in 1991, Starzl researched ways to wean organ recipients away from the immunosuppressive drugs used to prevent rejection. The University of Pittsburgh's world-renowned transplant center is named for him.
(1915 - 1967)
The jazz composer and pianist grew up in the city's Homewood section and wrote a concerto for his graduation from Westinghouse High School.
Strayhorn joined Duke Ellington's band in 1939, after visiting him backstage one night at the Stanley Theater, now the Benedum Center, to point out some variations he could try with his music. They wrote songs such as "Satin Doll" and "Take the 'A' Train."
Ellington recorded a collection of Strayhorn's songs, "And His Mother Called Him Bill," after his death in 1967. East Liberty's Kelly-Strayhorn Theater is named for Strayhorn and for entertainer Gene Kelly, a native of that city neighborhood.
(1947 - )
The accomplished pottery maker has founded educational programs and centers that are being replicated in other cities.
Strickland is the chief executive of the company that runs the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in the city's North Side, a center that he founded as an after school program in 1969 and that now teaches ceramics, photography and visual arts to thousands of students each year. The craftsmen's guild also hosts jazz performances that have included music legends such as Nancy Wilson.
Strickland's company also runs the local Bidwell Training Center, where culinary arts, chemistry, horticulture, medical and office career skills are taught. Students at the centers pay no tuition; donations support the programs.
(1846 - 1914)
The prolific inventor and visionary businessman brought electric light to the world by developing alternating current in the late 19th century.
The New York native who patented a rotary engine design at age 15 is known for developing hundreds of industrial and commercial technologies - compressed air brakes to stop train cars, automatic railroad switches and signals and pressure-resistant natural gas pipes, for example.
His Westinghouse Electric Co., founded in 1886, built transformers to send alternating current across greater distances than the then-used direct current, which could only be distributed at low voltages within three miles. The company illuminated the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.
Westinghouse founded 59 companies in all and is credited with instituting pensions and a five-day work week.
William "Red" Whittaker
The founder of the Carnegie Mellon University Field Robotics and National Robotics Engineering centers is known worldwide for building mobile robots that work in unpredictable and previously unreachable places.
Whittaker, his colleagues and students have created machines that explore space and underground sewer pipes and coal mines, that work in farming and as autonomous vehicles.
His SUV designed to move through city traffic without a driver won the 2007 Urban Challenge sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He now is involved in a project to land a privately funded rover on the moon.…