Diran Apelian, Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the founding director of WPI’s Metal Processing Institute, and Zhigang Z Fang, Professor, University of Utah, have been inducted into the USA’s National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
The NAI inducted 155 Fellows to its 2017 class, and now represents 912 in total, from over 250 research universities, governmental and non-profit research institutes. Election to NAI Fellow status is considered one of the highest professional accolades which can be bestowed to academic inventors, and is said to recognise “a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.”
Professor Diran Apelian is widely recognised for his innovative work in metal processing and for his leadership as a researcher and educator. His research is said to have helped establish mechanisms and fundamentals in metal processing and laid the foundations for significant industrial developments. More recently, he has been involved in the development of technologies to recover and recycle materials.
Since 2002, Professor Zhigang Z Fang is said to have developed externally funded research programmes in the areas of nanopowder synthesis, nano sintering, functionally graded hard metals, Powder Metallurgy titanium, intermetallic coatings and hydrogen storage materials. He has authored and co-authored over 120 publications, including technical articles, and over thirty US patents.
Shirley Malcom, Head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, stated, “Congratulations to the exceptional academic inventors who comprise the 2017 class of NAI Fellows. It was my privilege to support the important mission of the NAI as a member of the Fellows Selection Committee. The NAI Fellows Program plays a vital role in bringing to the forefront the essential scientific and economic contributions of our nation’s inventors.”
The 2017 NAI Fellows were officially inducted as part of the Seventh Annual NAI Conference in Washington, DC, USA, on April 5, 2018. During the ceremony, all new Fellows were presented with a special trophy, medal and rosette pin. All those elected to the rank of NAI Fellow must be named inventors on US patents and are nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society and support and enhancement of innovation.
“I am incredibly proud to welcome our 2017 Fellows to the Academy,” commented NAI President Paul Sanberg. “These accomplished individuals represent the pinnacle of achievement at the intersection of academia and invention— their discoveries have changed the way we view the world. They epitomise the triumph of a university culture that celebrates patents, licensing, and commercialisation, and we look forward to engaging their talents to further support academic innovation.”