Three University of Central Florida professors who specialize in optics have been honored for their high spirit of innovation, which they have transformed into inventions that have made a difference in everyday life.
The National Academy of Inventors named Leonid B. Glebov, Shin-Tson Wu and M.J. Soileau as charter fellows for 2012. All three have turned discoveries in the lab into inventions that have helped the development of things from lasers to iPhones.
They were selected because they “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,” according to the national organization.
Included in the NAI charter class of 98 are eight Nobel laureates, two Fellows of the Royal Society, 12 presidents of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 50 members of the National Academies (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine), 11 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, three recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, four recipients of the National Medal of Science, and 29 AAAS Fellows, among other major awards and distinctions.
Together, the new Fellows hold more than 3,200 U.S. patents.
“UCF is honored to have members of its faculty honored as NAI Charter Fellows,” said Soileau, UCF’s vice president for research and commercialization. “Dr. Glebov is an inventor of a new type of glass that is revolutionizing how components for lasers are made and is the foundation of one of UCF’S most successful spinoff companies, OptiGrate. Dr. Wu is a true pioneer in the field of liquid crystal display technology, something that impacts our lives when we look at our watches, watch TV, or turn on our iPhones.”
Soileau also has played a role in developing technology that protects devices from laser damage. Soileau served as founding director of CREOL, UCF’s College of Optics and Photonics that is known throughout the world for its excellence. He laid much of the groundwork for the optics program at UCF. That program includes the nation’s first full-fledged college devoted to optics and two additional research centers – the Florida Photonics Center of Excellence and the Townes Laser Institute.
As vice president for research and commercialization, Soileau oversees UCF’s Technology Transfer Office, the university’s business-incubation efforts, and participation in company partnerships through the Florida High Tech Corridor. Associate vice president Tom O’Neal leads those three particular efforts.
“My role is that of the privilege of heading the division of UCF where great things happen,” Soileau said.
Wu said UCF’s environment makes all the difference for his success.
“This is truly an unmerited blessing to me,” Wu said. “And I want to thank UCF for giving me a stage to be able to perform this work.”