Two faculty members of the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering were honored recently as members of the inaugural class of charter fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.
Dan Luss, Cullen Professor of Engineering in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Benton Baugh, distinguished adjunct professor of mechanical engineering, along with 99 other highly accomplished academic inventors from around the nation, were recognized at the NAI’s second annual conference, held last month in Tampa, Fla.
To be eligible for fellow status, an individual must be a named inventor on at least one patent and must be affiliated with a university, nonprofit research institute or other academic entity. According to the NAI website, fellow status “is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.”
Luss has spent more than four decades with the Cullen College, including more than 20 years as chairman of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department. He has published more than 300 journal articles and was named to the National Academy of Engineering in 1984. His research contributions have been recognized by several American Institute of Chemical Engineers awards, including the Founders Award, the Wilhelm Award, the Professional Progress Award, the Allan P. Colburn Award and eight Best Paper Awards, as well as the Amundson Award from ISCRE and the ASEE Curtis McGraw Award and the Chemical Engineering Division lectureship Award.
Luss’ research group develops policies that prevent chemical reactors from “runaways,” or rapid, uncontrollable temperature excursions that may lead to explosions. His recent research is concerned with the reduction of particulate particles (soot) and nitrogen oxide emissions by diesel engines. The main thrust of his research has been to increase the efficiency of chemical processes. His studies of the large-scale synthesis of advanced ceramics, such as superconducting materials, led to a patent for production of high-temperature superconducting powders. Another patent was awarded for the development of a method of carbon combustion synthesis of oxides, which enables a more economic production of these products.
Baugh has more than 50 years of experience in oilfield and subsea systems and is active in management, design and consulting. Baugh, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has developed numerous tools and novel solutions to equipment design, leading to more than 100 U.S. patents. He is recognized for a strong technical background for analysis, design and development of oilfield equipment. Currently, he is president of Radoil Tool Company, Inc., which manufactures a variety of offshore and oilfield products and provides general consulting services.
Baugh has written numerous technical papers on subsea applications that have been presented at various conferences. His patents have been issued on a variety of subjects, including gas compressor systems, drilling chokes, subsea wellhead systems, wellhead connectors, tubing hangers, subsea flowline systems, gate valves, hydraulic control systems, electro-hydraulic control systems, subsea re-entry systems, riser buoyancy systems, coiled tubing units, power slips and consumer products.
“Dr. Luss and Dr. Baugh have made tremendous contributions to their fields, not only with academic research but also through the processes, materials and devices they have created,” said Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the College. “It’s only fitting that they are honored in the inaugural class of NAI Charter Fellows. The entire Cullen College takes great pride in their achievements.”