Russell Elected Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Thomas Russell
Thomas Russell

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has elected Thomas P. Russell, Silvio O. Conte Distinguished Professor of polymer science and engineering, to the rank of NAI Fellow. The NAI recognized Russell for demonstrating “a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.” 

He will receive the honor at a fellows induction ceremony April 11at Space Center Houston in Texas, where Andrew H. Hirshfeld, U.S. Commissioner for Patents for the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will provide the keynote address. 

Russell says, “It is most rewarding to be honored for doing what you enjoy doing. Scientific research, pushing the limits and pursuing the unknown, is a joy.”   

Katie Stebbins, vice president for economic development in the UMass President’s Office, says, “Dr. Tom Russell’s induction is evidence of the innovative scholarship he is conducting in the field of polymer science and engineering. The recognition emphasizes the University of Massachusetts’ commitment to transformative technology and academic innovation throughout our five-campus system. We are honored to have a 2018 National Academy of Inventors Fellow within our ranks and extend congratulatory wishes to Tom.”

Bryan Coughlin, polymer science department head, says, “The election of Tom Russell to the NAI is great recognition of the innovative and highly inventive nature of his research program.”

As an inventor and scientist, Russell has contributed significantly to the science and technology of block copolymers, two polymers linked at one end where the blocks self-assemble into ordered arrays of nanoscopic domains. Scientists can modify domains to produce templates for the fabrication of devices with densities exceeding 10 terabits per square inch.

Russell’s work placed block copolymers on the Semiconductor Research Technology Roadmap, a set of documents produced by semiconductor experts, with potential applications in magnetic storage, floating gate technologies in memory sticks, cooling elements and highly efficient insulators in micro-electronic circuits, and membranes with nanoscopic size selectivity for water purification and the separation of virus particles. His innovations have led to faster and more efficient power generating devices and the practical production of large quantities of block copolymers.

Russell has taught, mentored and helped to shape the careers of more than 70 doctoral students and more than 50 postdoctoral researchers who now advance science at top institutions in the U.S., Europe and Asia. His past honors and awards include election to the National Academy of Engineering; the Polymer Physics Prize of the American Physical Society; the Dutch Polymer Award; Society of Polymer Science Japan, International Prize; and the American Chemical Society Applied Polymer Science Award.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society and the American Chemical Society. He has produced more than 800 peer-reviewed scientific publications, 15 book chapters and is co-editor of five books.