Newswise — AMES, IA -- U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Ames Laboratory senior metallurgist Iver Anderson was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. today at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The ceremony, which was held as part of the NAI’s Fifth Annual Conference, welcomed 168 new Fellows into the academy. Each Fellow was presented with a special trophy, a medal and a rosette pin.

Andrew Hirshfeld, USPTO commissioner, provided the keynote address for the ceremony. In earlier comments, Hirshfeld congratulated the new NAI Fellows on their accomplishment. “The NAI Fellows Program plays an important role in highlighting our nation’s most prolific inventors and their accomplishments, which provide vital support for our economy.”

Those elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions in innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

The NAI Fellows Selection Committee credited Anderson for demonstrating a “highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.”

“I am honored to have been recognized as an NAI Fellow,” said Anderson, “This award is an outstanding endorsement of contributions academic inventors like me make to research and, in particular, research that can make a lasting impact on society.”

Anderson is best known for his co-invention of lead-free solder, an alloy of tin, silver and copper, used globally as a replacement for lead-based solders that can pollute soil and groundwater. The lead-free solder patent is the top-earning patent for Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University (Ames Laboratory’s contractor), and Sandia National Laboratory. It has generated approximately $60 million in royalty income throughout the life of the patent, which expired in 2013. At its peak, more than 50 companies in 13 countries licensed the invention.

In addition to lead-free solder, Anderson has used gas-atomization technology he and his colleagues developed to produce fine, spherical titanium powder for additive manufacturing and metal injection molding of aerospace, medical, and industrial parts. A spinoff company, Iowa Powder Atomization Technologies, was created in 2012 to exclusively license Ames Laboratory’s titanium atomization patents. In 2014, IPAT was acquired by Praxair, a Fortune 250 company and one of the world’s largest producers of gases and powder-based surface coatings.

“Iver has dedicated his career to conducting outstanding research, and his commitment to excellence has paid off through the awarding of this Fellow recognition,” said Ames Laboratory Director Adam Schwartz. “He has accomplished much, and we fully expect his list of inventions to grow further in the years ahead.”

This work was supported at Ames Laboratory by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (Office of Basic Energy Sciences) and Office of Environmental Management. Additional funding was received from the Iowa State University Research Foundation and Nihon Superior.

Anderson’s continuing work is being supported by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability, Office of Nuclear Energy, and by a series of industrial sponsors through the Work for Others program at Ames Laboratory.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

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