News Service


Patricia Swan, Vice Provost for Research, (515) 294-6344
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- More than 100 current and past scientists at Iowa State University who invented a product or process, will be honored at a special banquet at the Holiday Inn Gateway Center on Saturday, Jan. 31. The banquet, "Honoring Iowa State Inventors," is the first gathering of ISU inventors.

This group of inventors is responsible for a wide range of technologies, including a method for making blue cheese salad dressing, an encoding process for fax machines, healthier cooking oil and an environmentally friendly lawn herbicide. The banquet also will honor Iowa State's three 1997 R&D 100 Award winners.

"We wanted to provide a night of recognition for the people who worked tirelessly to take an idea in the lab and make a useful product out of it," said Patricia Swan, vice provost for research. "The work of these people is helping diversify Iowa's economy and make the nation a stronger economic entity."

The banquet is in recognition of all Iowa State scientists whose work led to a commercial product. The products go back to 1940, with the commercial introduction of a process to make Maytag blue cheese dressing (developed by C.D. Lane and B.W. Hammer), through inventions that were marketed in 1997, like LoSatSoy, a healthier cooking oil from soybeans (developed by Walter Fehr and Earl Hammond).

The spotlight will also shine on Iowa State's 1997 R&D 100 Award winners. The R&D 100 Awards annually honor the top 100 products of technological significance marketed or licensed during the previous year. The awards are given out by R&D Magazine, a leading journal reporting on applied science. Since 1984, Iowa State and the Ames Laboratory have won 18 of these prestigious awards, ranking ISU second among universities in number of awards.

The three 1997 R&D 100 Award winners are Ed Yeung, distinguished professor of chemistry and Ames Lab program director for physical and biological sciences, for development of a very fast DNA sequencer; Robert Brown, professor of mechanical engineering and chemical engineering and director of the Center for Coal and the Environment, and former graduate assistant David Waller, for development of a carbon-in- ash monitor for coal-fired power plants; and a team of Ames Lab researchers that includes Bill McCallum, Kevin Dennis, Mathew Kramer and Daniel Branagan (an ISU graduate), for development of an improved magnet-making process.

Of the 80 Iowa State inventions being cited on Jan. 31, one stands out in royalties earned. It is an encoding process developed by David Nicholas in 1971, when he was a student at Iowa State. The process, which was successfully transferred to a class of fax machines, dramatically shortened the time for transmitting faxes. It has earned $36 million in royalties.

Other inventors being honored include those who developed vaccines to control kennel cough in dogs and atrophic rhinitis in swine (William Switzer and Daniel Farrington), a glass fiber that simplifies laser surgical procedures (Steve Martin and Abdel Soufiane) and a lawn herbicide made from corn gluten (Nick Christians).

The Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy lab that is operated by Iowa State for the DOE. The Center for Coal and the Environment and Ames Lab are part of the Institute for Physical Research and Technology, a federation of research, technology development and technology transfer entities at Iowa State University.

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