Seventeen SPIE Members, including the 1986 SPIE President James Wyant, are among the 168 inventors and innovators awarded Fellow status with the U.S. National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The new Fellows were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents, licensing, innovative discovery, and technology.
Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.
Ten of the new NAI Fellows are SPIE Fellows and seven are regular Members with SPIE.
- Harry Atwater of California Institute of Technology (Caltech), chair of the Nanoscience + Nanoengineering Symposium at SPIE Optics + Photonics 2016
- SPIE Fellow John Ballato of Clemson University
- Ray Baughman of University of Texas
- SPIE Fellow Charles A. Bouman of Purdue University
- Steven Brueck of University of New Mexico
- SPIE Fellow Nader Engheta of University of Pennsylvania, recipient of the 2015 SPIE Gold Medal
- Scott E. Fraser, director of science initiatives at University of Southern California
- SPIE Fellow Venu Govindaraju of University at Buffalo (SUNY)
- SPIE Fellow Naomi Halas of Rice University
- SPIE Fellow Chennupati Jagadish of the Australian National University
- SPIE Fellow Anil K. Jain of Michigan State University
- SPIE Fellow and former SPIE Board Member Kristina M. Johnson of University of Colorado Boulder
- SPIE Fellow Guifang Li of University of Central Florida (several)
- Jahangir S. Rastegar of Stony Brook University and Omnitek Partners
- Stephen D. Russell of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
- Marlan O. Scully of Texas A&M University.
- SPIE Fellow and past SPIE President James Wyant, founding dean and emeritus professor of the College of Optical Sciencesat University of Arizona
Also elected were 2010 Nobel Prize Laureate Sir Andre K. Geim of University of Manchester (UK); former US Rep. Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; John Bowers of University of California, Santa Barbara; C. Jeffrey Brinker of University of New Mexico; Ali Hajimiri of Caltech; Thomas Milner of University of Texas at Austin; John G. Daugman of University of Cambridge (UK); and James M. Tour of Rice University.
Many of those elected NAI Fellows serve on program committees at SPIE Photonics West, including Ballato, Halas, Fraser, and Li, or are co-authors of papers to be presented during the event in February.
Wyant, a successful optical entrepreneur who received the 2010 SPIE Chandra Vikram Award in Optical Metrology, the 2003 SPIE Gold Medal, the 1988 SPIE Technology Achievement Award; and the 1979 SPIE Governors' Award, is scheduled to give a keynote talk on the evolution of interferometry, in the Quantitative Phase Imaging conference at BiOS.
Other SPIE award winners on the list of new NAI Fellows include Engheta, the 2015 recipient of the SPIE Gold Medal, and Halas who received the 2014 SPIE Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award.
Founded in 2010, the NAI now has 582 Fellows representing more than 190 research universities and governmental, and non-profit research institutions. The 2015 Fellows account for 5,368 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective total patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 20,000.
The 168 NAI Fellows will be awarded a trophy, medal, and pin in honor of their commitment to excellence in academic invention on 15 April, as part of the 5th annual NAI conference at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Editor's Note: This article was updated 5 January 2016 with more details.