Posted December 9th, 2013
Brooklyn, New York—Kurt H. Becker, the associate provost for research and technology initiatives and a professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
Becker was chosen by the NAI for his 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. His pioneering work with atmospheric-pressure cold plasmas paved the way for new, more effective methods of sterilizing medical instruments and other biomedical and environmental applications, and he holds numerous patents on his discoveries.
Since joining NYU-Poly in 2007, Becker has been instrumental in helping the Institute translate its mission of Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (i2e) into action. He is the academic lead for PowerBridgeNY, a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)-sponsored proof of concept center, which will leverage clean-energy innovations emerging from institutional research labs to create more and stronger businesses in New York State. He is also the NYU-Poly academic lead in the Northeastern Regional Node of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps), a joint program with CUNY (lead) and Columbia University that prepares academic researchers to become entrepreneurs and speeds the commercialization of their research.
NYU-Poly is home to some of the top university business incubators in the world, and Becker serves as a valuable liaison between faculty members and the incubators’ staff and companies. Additionally, he was one of the creators of the school’s popular Inno/Vention competition--now in its seventh year--which challenges NYU–Poly and NYU students from across the globe to prototype and develop commercially viable ideas for real-world problems.
NYU-Poly President Katepalli R. Sreenivasan said, “As an NAI Fellow, Kurt Becker takes his place among an august company. We are proud that the organization has recognized, as we do at New York University, that Dr. Becker exemplifies the spirit of innovation and invention. We consider him an enormous credit to the Institute and are grateful for all his work on our behalf.”
The 143 innovators elected to NAI Fellow status represent 94 universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. Together, they hold more than 5,600 U.S. patents. Included in the 2013 class are 26 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 69 members of the National Academies, five inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, two recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science, and nine Nobel laureates.
The NAI Fellows will be inducted by Deputy U.S. Commissioner for Patents Andy Faile during the NAI’s 3rd Annual Conference on Mar. 7, 2014, in Alexandria, Va., at the headquarters of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Becker is a professor in two NYU-Poly academic departments, Applied Physics and of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from Germany’s Universität des Saarlandes. He is an honorary professor at the Leopold-Franzens Universitaet, in Innsbruck, Austria. His many other honors include the Dr. Eduard-Martin Prize for Excellence in Research, a fellowship in the American Physical Society, and the 2007 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award, and the SASP Erwin Schrödinger medal of the University of Innsbruck.