Masters of invention
These Miners are a few of Missouri S&T’s true inventors. They saw a need and created something new to meet that need.
• Charles E. Byvik, MS Phys’64, is associate director of electronics for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He holds three U.S. patents. For the first two-thirds of his professional career, Byvik was a senior scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center. He performed R&D in a variety of areas, from tunable solid-state lasers for NASA’s satellite and aircraft remote sensing of the atmosphere to superconductivity. In 1990, he developed a rapid and inexpensive method for determining the absorption and emission characters of crystal fibers, which help determine the optical properties of solid-state laser materials.
• James Friend, AE’92, MS ME’94, PhD ME’98, invented novel micromotors for a tiny swimming robot capable of entering the bloodstream to unblock clots, clean blood vessels, guide catheters or take images. A professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the associate dean of engineering research at Monash University in Victoria, Australia, Friend established and co-directs a $7.3 million cleanroom fabrication and biolab facility now within the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, where he and his colleagues are researching rapid infusion of stem cells for intervertebral disc regeneration, a high-frequency, handheld nebulization system for rapid-response (plasmid DNA) vaccine delivery by inhalation, and novel separation and sensing technologies for the detection of cryptosporidium in drinking water. Favorite project: studying the physics of tossing pizza dough.
• Daniel T. Mudd, ME’77, EMgt’79, Mudd credits his father, who helped build the F-18, for giving him a strong work ethic and teaching him about persistence. At age 11, he began trimming grass in the summer for his older brother. In high school, he and his friends rebuilt their cars. His favorite of the 50 U.S. patents he holds, 6,443,174, is a low-cost mass-flow controller. Mudd is the first American to receive the Shinkichi Award, Horiba Engineering’s highest award given to engineers for innovation.
• Joseph G. Straeter, PetE’83, holds more than 500 U.S. patents. Straeter grew up on a dairy farm, the second youngest of six brothers. He came to Rolla because “it was a tough school, and the harder you are on yourself when young the easier life is later on.” In the 1980s, he moved to Illinois and joined the R&D department at Highland Supply, which provides films, foils, floral sleeves and wraps, wire products, and other goods for the floral industry. His favorite invention is a flat-paneled speed cover (Patent 5,254,072). “I invented things that will probably be on my casket when I'm dead.”