Professional News

UK Professor Named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2017) — University of Kentucky Frank J. Derbyshire Professor of Materials Science Y.T. Cheng has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the organization announced Tuesday.  

Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional accolade bestowed solely 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 welfare of society.

With the election of the 2017 class there are now 912 NAI Fellows, representing over 250 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes. The 2017 fellows are named inventors on nearly 6,000 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 32,000 issued U.S. patents.

Included among all NAI Fellows are more than 100 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and nonprofit research institutes; 439 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; 36 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame; 52 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science; 29 Nobel Laureates; 261 AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Fellows; 168 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Fellows; and 142 fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, among other awards and distinctions.

On April 5, the 2017 NAI Fellows will be inducted as part of the seventh annual NAI Conference of the National Academy of Inventors in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Commissioner for Patents Andrew H. Hirshfeld will provide the keynote address for the induction ceremony.

Yang-Tse Cheng is the Frank J. Derbyshire Professor of Materials Science and professor of physics and astronomy (joint appointment) at the University of Kentucky. Prior to joining UK in the fall of 2008, he was a technical fellow and laboratory group manager for engineered surfaces and functional materials at the General Motors R&D Center.

Cheng has made significant contributions over a broad range of materials science and engineering areas, including nanoindentation modeling and measurement of mechanical properties; growth, structure and properties of nanostructured materials (e.g., amorphous materials, nanocomposites, epitaxial single crystals, single crystal nanowires); microscopic shape memory and superelastic effects; magnetorheological fluids; superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic surfaces; ion-solid interactions and ion beam modification of materials; automotive applications of new materials and processes, such as electrical contacts, high power-density engines and transmissions, environmentally friendly machining processes, hydrogen sensors, fuel cells, metal hydride batteries and lithium ion batteries.

Cheng holds 48 U.S. patents, several of which have been utilized by General Motors. He has published 168 articles and edited eight books and special volumes and serves as a principal editor for the Journal of Materials Research. Cheng is a fellow of the Materials Research Society and the American Physical Society. 

Those elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and 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.