Bachelor of Science, University Illinois, 1955. Master of Science, University Illinois, 1956. Doctor of Philosophy, University Illinois, 1960.
Doctor of Philosophy (honorary), MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois.
He was the co-inventor of the plasma display, is largely regarded as the "father of PLATO", and has made a career of improving classroom productivity by using computer and telecommunications technologies. Bitzer received his bachelor"s in 1955, his master"s in 1956 and his doctorate in 1960, all in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois. Bitzer holds patents for inventions including the plasma-display panel, the binary-weighted solenoid, a high-quality modem, and new satellite communications techniques.
The creation of the PLATO computer system, the first system to combine graphics and touch-sensitive screens, is the hallmark of his efforts.
Bitzer co-invented the flat plasma display panel in 1964. Originally invented as an educational aid to help students working in front of computers for long periods of time, plasma screens do not flicker and are a significant advance in television technology.
The display was also a way of overcoming the limited memory of the computer systems being used. In 1973 the National Academy of Engineering presented Bitzer with the Vladimir K. Zworykin Award, which honors the inventor of the iconoscope.
Doctor Bitzer is currently a Distinguished University Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University.
Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Association Development Computer-Based Instructional Systems, International Engineering Consortium. Member National Academy of Engineering (Vladimir K. Zworykin award), Data Processing Management Association (Computer Science Man of Year award), American Society Engineering Education (Chester Carlson award), National Academy Engineering.
Married Maryann Drost, July 2, 1955. 1 son, David.