Inventors, creators and entrepreneurs honored at 2024 Inventor Recognition Ceremony

Inventors, creators and entrepreneurs at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory were recognized for their inventions and novel ideas by Fermilab’s Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer at the 2024 Inventor Recognition Ceremony on Feb. 29.

In 2023, 12 new patents were issued with 16 inventors associated with those patents at Fermilab.

“The first U.S. patent granted to an employee of the National Accelerator Laboratory was awarded to Quentin A. Kerns on Jan. 25, 1972; Patent No. 3,638,127, titled ‘Stabilization System for Resonant Cavity Excitation,’’’ said Cherri Schmidt, manager of the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer at Fermilab. “We have continued to build on the shoulders of these early inventors to continuously improve accelerator and detector technologies to advance our science.”

Fermilab inventors, creators and entrepreneurs are honored at the 2024 Inventor Recognition Ceremony on Feb. 29. Photo: Dan Svoboda, Fermilab

The patent awardees from 2023 recognized at the ceremony included:

Fermilab’s Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer recognized 50 lab employees who disclosed inventions and software ideas for potential patents. DOE Early Career Awardees Silvia Zorzetti and Guillermo Fernandez Moroni were recognized, as well as other Fermilab employees who received external awards or made out-of-the-box advancements in their fields. Katrina Porter represented the Fermi Site Office for DOE also helped hand out awards.

Guest speakers at the ceremony

Vanessa Chan, chief commercialization officer for DOE and director of the Office of Technology Transitions provided a message through video. “I have so much admiration for the inventors, creators and entrepreneurs at the forefront of fundamental science,” said Chan. “You make the discoveries that so often transform and dramatically improve our quality of life, security and environment. The entire nation, really the entire world, is in your debt.”

Vanessa Chan from DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions provides remarks during the ceremony. Photo: Dan Svoboda, Fermilab

Chan talked about the importance of training the next generation of scientists and researchers. Some of the examples she included were the Commercialization Internship Program between the national labs, including Fermilab, and her office. Chan also talked about programs that provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to work in quantum science labs through the Chicago Quantum Exchange’s Open Quantum Initiative.

Samir Mayekar, the director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago, said, “We are advancing the frontiers of science and have a fortress of intellectual property, know-how, engineering and equipment backing us. I believe the wind is at our backs for the first time in generations — perhaps since the founding of the national lab system or the early days of semiconductor developments in Silicon Valley.”


Rich Goffi, director of strategy at Fermilab, speaks to the importance of tech transfer to Fermilab’s mission and future. Photo: Dan Svoboda, Fermilab

Samir Mayekar snaps a selfie with attendees of the award ceremony. Photo: Dan Svoboda, Fermilab

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