Four UC Santa Barbara engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for 2015. Recognized for their “highly prolific spirit of invention,” ECE Professors John Bowers & Umesh Mishra and Materials and Chemistry & Biochemistry Professors Craig Hawker & Galen Stucky are among the newest fellows elected by the organization.
They join 164 other new NAI members for 2015, bringing the total of NAI fellows to 582, representing more than 190 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions.
“Each of these prestigious members of our faculty have made discoveries and then translated them into applications that change the world, from energy efficiency in electronics, to innovative polymers, to life-saving biomedical technology,” commented Rod Alferness, dean of the UCSB College of Engineering. “Society is benefiting from their intellectual contributions right now, and their work propels us into a bright future. We are tremendously proud of the recognition by NAI.”
ECE Professor John Bowers
An expert in photonics and optoelectronics, electrical and computer engineering professor John Bowers’s research focuses on the use of light to transmit data. By integrating electronic and photonic elements on the same silicon-based chip, the next generations of computers and telecommunications devices will be able to receive and transmit data at much faster speeds and with a fraction of the energy that is being used today.
Bowers is the founding director of the UCSB Institute for Energy Efficiency and a cofounder of the campus’s Technology Management Program, as well as the West Coast lead for the federally funded American Institute for Manufacturing of Photonics. A veteran of industry who worked at Bell Laboratories and Honeywell before joining UCSB in 1987, Bowers has published 466 journal papers, received 54 patents and consults with numerous photonics manufacturing companies.
“It is very gratifying when new products or new companies come out of good research,” Bowers said of the “creative research” required to bring forth advanced technologies and bring them to the market.
Bowers is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Optical Society of America (OSA) and the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the OSA Holonyak Prize.
ECE Professor Umesh Mishra
A whopping $40 billion in unused energy is wasted in the United States annually, and it’s not coming from the more obvious places in our energy infrastructure. Rather, the energy dissipation happens at the point of conversion, with the adaptors in our various devices changing the voltage that arrives through power outlets to be compatible with the smaller requirements of our machines, and losing the rest as heat.
Electrical and computer engineering professor Umesh Mishra has made it his mission to put an end to that waste of energy and money, and in doing so, help to update the country’s outdated and inefficient energy infrastructure. His research expertise is in gallium nitride (GaN) electronics, utilizing the fine control offered by the wide-bandgap semiconductor material over the flow of electrons, enabling more efficient power distribution in various industrial and commercial systems, as well as opening the way to better integration of renewable energy sources.
“The impact of gallium nitride-based electronics is to radically improve the efficiency for radio-frequency power generation used in wireless base stations and also all forms of power conversion including data servers, solar inverters and electric and hybrid car motor drives,” said Mishra, who is “honored” to be inducted into NAI. “This is an important step in the journey toward ultra-low wasted energy in these functions, which reduces cost, mitigates environmental impact and takes the shackles off system design while creating jobs.”
Mishra, who joined UCSB in 1990, is a member of the campus’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center and holds the Donald W. Whittier Chair in Electrical Engineering. He is also leading research efforts as part of PowerAmerica, a federally funded national research and manufacturing consortium established to accelerate research and development of GaN and other wide-bandgap semiconductor technologies.