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Dartmouth Engineering Professor Named a 2015 National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Dec 14, 2015

Robert C. Dean Jr., Professor of Engineering (Emeritus, Adjunct) at Dartmouth, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Robert C. Dean Jr.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a professional distinction accorded to academics who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

NAI Fellows are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation. The 168 named this year bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 582, representing more than 190 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions. 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.

In addition to being a member of the Dartmouth engineering sciences faculty since 1961, Dr. Dean currently serves as President of Synergy Innovations Inc. where he is developing processes and products for working materials, for advanced materials fabrication and for geriatrics on means to prevent fall injuries and means to rise from the floor. He holds 28 U.S. patents, with approximately five patents pending, and numerous foreign patents. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Dean received one of the first "Tibbett's Pioneer Awards" for his contributions to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program as well as the ASME Gold Medal for his technical accomplishments, inspiration of fellow engineers and many contributions to the engineering profession. In 1998, The New Hampshire High Technology Council awarded Dean the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Dean is the founder or co-founder of ten companies:

  1. Creare (contract R&D in the thermal/flow and medical sciences);
  2. Hypertherm Inc. (technology leader and world's largest manufacturer of plasma-arc metal-cutting equipment);
  3. Creare Innovations Inc. (xerography and motion control)—became Spectra/Dimatix and sold to Fuji (four color, drop-on-demand printers);
  4. Verax (mammalian-cell culture systems for biopharmaceuticals production);
  5. Synosys—then PerSeptive Biosystems, sold to Perkin-Elmer (biotechnology instruments and process equipment);
  6. Synergy Research Corporation (motion-control, reprographics engineering and bioengineering);
  7. Synergy Innovations Inc. (innovation and new venture creation);
  8. SIMBEX (injury-prevention and rehabilitation products);
  9. NanoComp Technologies Inc. (carbon nanotubes and products); and
  10. Synticos (abrasive slurry jet cutter of anything).

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. USPTO Deputy Commissioner for Patents, Andrew Hirshfeld will provide the keynote address for the induction ceremony.

The 2015 NAI Fellows Selection Committee included 17 members, comprising NAI Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies and senior officials from the USPTO, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of University Technology Managers, and National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Dean joins Dartmouth engineering professors Eric Fossum, Tillman Gerngross, Elsa Garmire, and Axel Scherer as Fellows of NAI.


The National Academy of Inventors® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprised of U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI edits the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation, published by Cognizant Communication Corporation (NY).

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