Professor Fossum Receives 2018 Yale Science & Engineering Association Award for Advancement of Basic and Applied Science

Yale Science & Engineering Association

April 22, 2018

Dartmouth engineering professor Eric Fossum is recognized for having "transformed the way that billions of people see and record their daily lives ... revolutionized optical sensor array technology and made whole fields of research possible."

Eric R. Fossum, PhD ’84, Engineering and Applied Science

John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies at Dartmouth
Director, PhD Innovation Program
Associate Provost, Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer

Eric Fossum is best known for the invention of the CMOS image sensor “camera-on-a-chip” used in billions of cameras, from smart phones to web cameras to pill cameras and many other applications. He was awarded Yale’s Wilbur Cross Medal and has served on the Leadership Council of the Yale University School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is a solid-state image sensor device physicist and engineer, and his career has included academic and government research and entrepreneurial leadership. 

In 2017 Eric received the Queen Elizabeth Prize from HRH Prince Charles, regarded by many as the Nobel Prize of Engineering, along with Teranishi, Tompsett and Smith, for the creation of digital imaging sensors. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011, elected to the National Academy of Engineering and selected as a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Other honors include the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the IEEE Andrew Grove Award and Medal, the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Medal, the Royal Photographic Society’s Progress Medal, the American Photographic Society’s Progress Medal, the SMPTE Camera Origination and Imaging Medal, and the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. He was awarded Trinity College’s Alumni Medal for Excellence. An early Photobit sensor and camera is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Inventing in America exhibit, and he served as an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador.

A Connecticut native, he received his BS in Physics and Engineering from Trinity College in Hartford before attending Yale. He was a member of Columbia University’s Electrical Engineering faculty, then joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, managing JPL’s image sensor and focal-plane technology research and advanced development. While at JPL, he invented the intra-pixel charge transfer CMOS active-pixel-sensor camera-on-a-chip technology and led its development and subsequent transfer of the technology to US industry. Nearly all of the 4 billion CMOS cameras made each year use the intra-pixel charge transfer invention. Dr. Fossum co-founded Photobit Corporation to commercialize the technology and served in several top management roles including Chairman and CEO. Photobit was acquired by Micron Technology Inc. He was Chairman and CEO of Siimpel Corporation, developing MEMS-based camera modules with auto-focus and shutter functions for cell phones. He consulted with Samsung Electronics, working on 3D image sensors as well as strategic issues before joining Dartmouth.

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