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Photo of Qiming Zhang

Qiming Zhang, distinguished professor of electrical engineering in Penn State’s College of Engineering. Credit: Kate Myers / Penn State. All Rights Reserved.

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) named Qiming Zhang, distinguished professor of electrical engineering in Penn State’s College of Engineering, a fellow — the highest professional distinction awarded 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 the quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society, according to the academy. Zhang will be inducted along with 162 other inventors from more than 100 different universities, governmental and nonprofit research institutions at NAI’s 13th Annual Meeting on June 18 in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

“Dr. Zhang joins an elite class of inventors who have made a difference in society through their scientific innovations,” said Tonya L. Peeples, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “His dedication to excellence over his several decades as a researcher and educator at Penn State is a model for us all.” 

Zhang, who also is affiliated with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Materials Research Institute and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State, holds 15 patents related to ferroelectric actuators — the parts of a machine that allow for movement, such as in robotics — as well as resonators and filters, which are used in ultrasonic transducers and cell phone wireless communications. His inventions have applications in energy storage, energy harvesting, electrocaloric solid state cooling and electromechanical devices, such as in virtual reality that simulates touch sensations.  

Zhang has published more than 360 peer-reviewed articles, which have been cited over 36,000 times. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electronic physics from Nanjing University, China, and a doctorate in solid state physics from Penn State.   

He also is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Physical Society.   

“This year’s class of NAI fellows showcases the caliber of researchers that are found within the innovation ecosystem,” said Paul R. Sanberg, fellow and president of the NAI. “This new class, in conjunction with our existing fellows, are creating innovations that are driving crucial advancements across a variety of disciplines and are stimulating the global and national economy in immeasurable ways as they move these technologies from lab to marketplace.”

Zhang will join 10 other NAI fellows from Penn State: Stephen Benkovic, elected in 2015; Jian Yang, elected in 2018; Chao-Yang Wang, elected in 2019; John Mauro and Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, elected in 2020; Clive Randall and T.C. Mike Chung, elected in 2021; and Justin SchwartzMadhavan Swaminathan and Douglas Werner, elected in 2022.