Forbes InnovatorsHere’s something I imagine Professor Yet-Ming Chiang ’80, ScD ’85 is thankful for this year. He was chosen as one of seven World’s Most Powerful Innovators by Lemelson-MIT Program Director and Professor Michael Cima for Forbes magazine. The seven were chosen for their curiosity, empathy, and leadership.

Chiang, who teaches materials science and engineering at MIT, developed an advanced lithium-ion battery that lasts longer than the traditional type and recharges quickly. It’s been hailed as a breakthrough for powering automobiles and power tools. The company he cofounded in 2001, A123 Systems, went public in September and is now worth more than $1 billion. According to Forbes, Chiang himself drives a Toyota Prius outfitted with his invention that can get more than 100 miles per gallon, twice that of a typical Prius. Learn more about Chiang.

And, on Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Powerful People, alumnus and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke PhD ’79 ranks fourth, behind President Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Not bad. Not bad at all.