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National Academy of Inventors honors 3 University of Houston professors

Three University of Houston faculty members have been named Charter Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for their outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation.

UH faculty members Benton Baugh, an adjunct professor in mechanical engineering, Paul Chu, a physics professor and chief scientist of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH (TcSUH), and Dan Luss, a professor in chemical and biomedical engineering, are among 101 innovators awarded NAI Fellow status.

NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a 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.

The new fellows represent 56 universities and non-profit research institutes, and together they hold more than 3,200 U.S. patents. They include eight Nobel laureates, 14 presidents of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 53 members of the National Academies (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine), two fellows of the Royal Society, 11 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, five recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, four recipients of the National Medal of Science, and 31 AAAS Fellows, among other major awards and distinctions.

The NAI Charter Fellows will be inducted by Margaret A. Focarino, the U.S. Commissioner for Patents, at the Second Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors, on Feb. 22, in Tampa, Fla.

Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Charter Fellow were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

Baugh has more than 50 years experience in oilfield and subsea systems and is active in management, design and consulting. Baugh has developed numerous tools and novel solutions to equipment design, leading to more than 100 U.S. patents. He is recognized for a strong technical background for analysis, design and development of oilfield equipment. Currently, he is president of Radoil Tool Company, Inc., which manufactures a variety of offshore and oilfield products and provides general consulting services.

Baugh has written numerous technical papers on subsea applications that have been presented at various conferences. His patents have been issued on a variety of subjects, including gas compressor systems, drilling chokes, subsea wellhead systems, wellhead connectors, tubing hangers, subsea flowline systems, gate valves, hydraulic control systems, electro-hydraulic control systems, subsea re-entry systems, riser buoyancy systems, coiled tubing units, power slips and consumer products. He has patents pending.

Chu is founding director and chief scientist of TcSUH. In 1987, Chu and his colleagues achieved superconductivity at a temperature that would usher in a new era in materials science. Currently, Chu is actively engaged in the basic and applied research of high temperature superconductivity. His research activities also extend beyond superconductivity to magnetism and dielectrics. His work has resulted in the publication of more than 590 papers in refereed journals.

Chu has received numerous awards and honors for his outstanding work in superconductivity, including the U.S. National Medal of Science and the International Prize for New Materials. He also was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing), the Academia Sinica (Taipei), the Third World Academy of Sciences, the Electromagnetic Academy, the Russian Academy of Engineering, and The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Texas Academy of Sciences. In 1990, he was selected the Best Researcher in the U.S. by US News and World Report.

Luss has spent more than four decades researching and teaching chemical engineering at UH's Cullen College of Engineering, where he chaired the chemical engineering department for more than 20 years. He has published more than 300 journal articles and was named to the National Academy of Engineering in 1984. His research contributions were recognized by several American Institute of Chemical Engineers awards, including the Founders Award, the Wilhelm Award, the Professional Progress Award, the Allan P. Colburn Award and eight Best Paper Awards, as well as the Amundson Award from ISCRE and the ASEE Curtis McGraw Award and the Chemical Engineering Division lectureship Award.

Luss' research group develops policies that prevent chemical reactors from "runaways," or rapid, uncontrollable temperature excursions that may lead to explosions. His recent research is concerned with the reduction of particulate particles (soot) and nitrogen oxide emissions by diesel engines. The main thrust of his research was to increase the efficiency of chemical processes. His studies of the large-scale synthesis of advanced ceramics, such as superconducting materials led to patent for production of high-temperature superconducting powders. Another patent was awarded for the development of a method of carbon combustion synthesis of oxides, which enables a more economic production of these products.


Contact: Laura Tolley
University of Houston

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