Russell A. Kirsch, who passed away recently, invented something incredibly tiny and yet incredibly important. It's not something you think about every day; most likely, you barely notice it. And yet, we guarantee that you're looking at one RIGHT NOW. Scratch that, you're looking at thousands of them right now. MILLIONS, even!
All the way back in 1957, Kirsch (who, yes, was Jewish) developed the digital image scanner. The first ever digital scan, now called one of the most influential photographs of all time, was a picture of Kirsch's infant son. But Kirsch couldn't simply scan the photo. He needed to reduce it to its most basic form.