Fermilab Inventor Recognition Ceremony celebrates employees and technological progress

The awards are lined up and ready for presentation. Photo: Al Johnson

The awards are lined up and ready for presentation. Photo: Al Johnson

On March 12, Fermilab recognized 64 laboratory employees for their technological innovations, honoring them at the Fermilab Inventor Recognition Ceremony. Hosted by Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer Manager Cherri Schmidt, the event celebrated employees who earned patents and submitted records of invention during 2018.

2018 was a banner year for patents and invention disclosures. More than 20 records of invention were submitted, and, for the first time in Fermilab’s history, new patents reached double digits in a single year.

Following Schmidt’s introductory remarks celebrating Fermilab’s increased tech transfer activity over the years, Deputy Director for Administration Tim Meyer shared some perspectives from the Directorate. Among these were long-term initiatives including the greater collaboration with Fermilab’s extended family at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago Polsky Center.

Michael Weis, manager of the DOE Fermi Site Office, shared some words of congratulations and introduced a brief video message from Conner Prochaska, director of the Office of Technology Transitions and the chief commercialization officer for DOE. Conner made special mention of the Lab Partnering Service (LPS) and the streamlined connection between innovators and commercialization.

Inventor Recognition Ceremony attendees celebrate a banner year in innovation. Photo: Al Johnson

Inventor Recognition Ceremony attendees celebrate a banner year in innovation. Photo: Al Johnson

“Your participation in LPS is critical to its success,” Conner said, “and we are grateful that you’ve opened your doors to entrepreneurs, academic researchers and large businesses in need of the kinds of resources only DOE can provide.”

Finally, Robert S. Altman, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and entrepreneur-in-residence at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago, described how some of the attributes of scientists can be helpful in entrepreneurship in a special lecture titled, “Why a Scientist can be a Great Entrepreneur.”

Meyer and Weis presented the awards to the employees who earned patents and submitted invention disclosures. The R&D 100 Award team from Fermilab was also honored for their contributions to silicon strip cosmic muon detectors for homeland security. Congratulations to William Cooper, Cristian Gingu, Johnny B. Green, Ron Lipton, Paul Rubinov and Mike Utes.

Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer Manager Cherri Schmidt announced the launch of the Entrepreneurship & Commercialization Practicum on April 18, 2019. Photo: Al Johnson

Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer Manager Cherri Schmidt announced the launch of the Entrepreneurship & Commercialization Practicum on April 18, 2019. Photo: Al Johnson

During the subsequent reception, inventors presented their technologies:

  • 2017 honoree Derek Plant, railroad block and grade crossing warning system
  • 2019 honoree Sujit Bidhar, low-voltage electrospinning system
  • 2019 honorees Donato Passarelli and Mohamed Hamed Awida Hassan, novel radio-frequency tuning of dressed multicell cavities using pressurized-balloons technology
  • 2019 honoree Curtis Baffes, whiffletree device for closure of flanged connections

Congratulations to the 2018 award winners, and thanks to those inventors who presented their technologies during the reception.

Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Practicum is a six-week short-course for Fermilab researchers who are interested in connecting their work with direct societal impact. The course is scheduled for six consecutive Thursdays, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the IARC Building, starting April 18 and ending May 23. Seats are limited. For more information and to register for the class, visit http://partnerships.fnal.gov/internal/.

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Laura Rogas is the program administrator for the Fermilab Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer and the Illinois Accelerator Research Center.