Dartmouth Professor Eric Fossum Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Dartmouth Now

February 7, 2013

By Catharine Lamm

Eric Fossum
Professor Eric Fossum

Professor of Engineering Eric Fossum has been elected to The National Academy of Engineering (NAE)—a part of the National Academies, which includes the NAE, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Fossum is professor of engineering at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth and one of the world’s experts in solid-state image sensors. He worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is a successful entrepreneur, served as chief executive officer of several companies, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011. His interests at Dartmouth are teaching and researching the next generation of solid-state image sensors for gigapixel cameras and for 3D image capture. He also serves as faculty coordinator of Thayer School’s Ph.D. Innovation Program.

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer, and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

The NAE cites Fossum’s principal engineering accomplishment to be “inventing and developing the CMOS active-pixel image sensor and camera-on-a-chip.” This technology enables nearly all camera phones and web cameras, many DSLRs, high-speed motion-capture cameras, automotive cameras, dental X-ray cameras, and swallowable pill cameras, which amount to several billion cameras manufactured per year.

Here, professor Fossum describes his research and teaching at Dartmouth:

“It is truly an honor to be recognized at this level by my fellow engineers,” says Fossum. “I am regularly astonished by the many ways the technology impacts people’s lives here on Earth through products that we didn’t even imagine when it was first invented for NASA. I look forward to continuing to teach and work with the students and faculty at Dartmouth to explore the next generation of image-capturing devices.”

Fossum is one of 69 new members and 11 foreign associates announced February 7, 2013, by NAE President Charles M. Vest. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2,250 and the number of foreign associates to 211. New members are elected to the NAE by current active members who search all fields of engineering for outstanding engineers with identifiable contributions or accomplishments.

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