University of Maryland Faculty, Alumni Named National Academy of Inventors Fellows

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) announced today that the University of Maryland’s (UMD) John S. Baras and Benjamin A. Shneiderman were named 2015 NAI Fellows, the first from UMD’s faculty to join the ranks of some of the nation’s most prestigious and creative inventors.

UMD alumni Robert E. Fischell (M.S. ’53, Hon. Sc.D. ’96), professor of the practice and namesake of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, and Tobin J. Marks (B.S. ’66), professor of chemistry and of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University, were also named to the 2015 induction class, along with academics from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“These individuals embody the University of Maryland’s spirit of innovation. Our faculty, alumni, and students continue to put forth revolutionary inventions that have extraordinary impact on economic development, quality of life, and most importantly, the betterment of society,” said Patrick O’Shea, UMD Vice President and Chief Research Officer.

Baras serves as the Lockheed Martin Chair in Systems Engineering for UMD’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research (ISR), and previously served as ISR’s Founding Director. He holds 15 U.S. patents and a software copyright in the fields of Internet protocols, networks, wireless networks and security, and signal processing. An internationally recognized authority in satellite and wireless networks, Baras led the development of fast Internet over satellite, commercialized by Hughes Network Systems, and created a new industry sector for Internet services over satellite.

Shneiderman, a Distinguished University Professor in Computer Science with a joint appointment in the university’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, has submitted more than 25 disclosures to UMD’s Office of Technology Commercialization in the fields of human-computer interaction and information visualization, and more than 20 have been licensed. Shneiderman is Founding Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory and an affiliate professor with both the Clark School’s Institute for Systems Research and UMD’s College of Information Studies. He invented the treemaps information visualization concept and pioneered highlighted text links, which have contributed to the success of the Web, and small touchscreen keyboards that are now on every smartphone. His move into information visualization spawned Spotfire, a company known for pharmaceutical drug discovery and genomic data analysis. More recently, a Fortune 100 company licensed Eventflow, another of Shneiderman’s inventions.

Baras and Shneiderman are two of 168 Fellows named today, bringing the total number of NAI Fellows to 582. The 2015 Fellows account for more than 5,300 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 20,000. These academic luminaries have made a significant impact to the economy through innovative discoveries, creating startup companies and enhancing the culture of academic invention.

Included among all NAI Fellows are more than 80 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 310 members of the other National Academies (NAS, NAE, NAM), 27 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 32 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science, 27 Nobel Laureates, 14 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 170 AAAS Fellows, and 98 IEEE Fellows, among other awards and distinctions. 

The NAI Fellows will be inducted on April 15, 2016, as part of the Fifth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va.

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Published December 15, 2015