WVU engineering professor named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Greg Thompson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at West Virginia University, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. 

The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. 

Thompson, a member of the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions, has led research in the areas of heavy-duty diesel engine emissions, mechanical design and thermal system design.

“It was within this research conducted through CAFEE that created the environment where lessons would be learned and later applied to the application of the technology used to measure in-use emissions from mobile sources,” Thompson said. “Our initial research provided a building block for commercial systems to measure emissions from mobile systems and ultimately led to the systems utilized to discover the high emitting Volkswagen diesel vehicles.”

Thompson is the recipient of the CNET Automotive Disruptors of the Year Award, Society of Automotive Engineers Forest R. MacFarland Service Award, SAE Ralph Teetor Educational Award, along with six awards from WVU. He holds nine U.S. patents that have been licensed to three companies.

“Dr. Thompson is an exemplary researcher and professor and exactly the kind of faculty member we value at WVU,” said WVU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed. “His expertise and innovative drive are not only a boon for the industry but a true asset for our students as well. His achievements will certainly be a source of inspiration to students for generations to come.” 

Among his extensive accomplishments, Thompson has used his creativity and skills to develop devices over a wide range of applications, beginning with his dissertation where he developed a patented rotary engine design. 

Thompson also created a sensor pod for the Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport craft that can be adapted to other aircrafts. The pod allows for a suite of sensors to be deployed out of the back of the aircraft without modifying the air frame and can be used to detect objects, such as when you are looking for a lost person. 

“The nomination as an NAI Fellow was an unexpected pleasure,” said Thompson. “I am appreciative for the recognition from the NAI and look towards continuing to advance the development of intellectual property.”

Thompson has integrated patents into his senior level machine design course to broaden the students learning and understanding of mechanisms. He has assisted students starting their intellectual property development through mentoring and assisting in the patenting process. 

Throughout his career, he has published 40 journal articles, 77 conference proceedings and one book.

Thompson is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SAE and Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society.

To date, NAI Fellows hold more than 41,500 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 11,000 licensed technologies and companies and created more than 6 million jobs. In addition, over $1.6 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries. 

Thompson will be formally inducted by Laura Peter, deputy undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and deputy director at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Paul Sanberg, NAI president, at the NAI Fellows Induction Ceremony on April 10, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona.

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