Penn State alumnus Delbert Day named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

March 24, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumnus Delbert Day has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Election to NAI Fellow status is “the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.” Day will be inducted this April as part of the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Day, a Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ceramic Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T), is a prolific inventor whose work with specialty glasses has led to treatments for cancer, bone tissue regeneration, and wound care.

“I am very honored to be elected a Fellow by the National Academy of Inventors,” Day said.

Day has published more than 400 papers on the properties, structures and uses of glass, has edited three books, and has received 47 U.S. and foreign patents, with another seven U.S. patents pending. In the 1980s, Day conducted the first U.S. glass melting experiments in micro-gravity on a NASA space shuttle mission. He is a co-inventor of “Glasphalt,” which recycles waste glass by using it as part of the aggregate in asphalt paving.

Day co-invented radioactive glass microspheres, now marketed under the brand name TheraSphere, which are used worldwide to treat patients with inoperable liver cancer. More recently, his work has led to the development of bioactive glass fibers that help speed the healing of chronic, nonhealing wounds.

Day is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, the Society of Glass Technology (United Kingdom) and the National Institute of Ceramic Engineers. He is a distinguished life member and past president of the American Ceramic Society

In 2003, he was awarded the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Hosler Alumni Scholar Medal. In 2009, he received the Toledo Glass and Ceramics award for his “Achievements in Education and Industry,” and in 2010, he was awarded the Phoenix Award and named “Glass Person of the Year” for his technical achievements and contributions to the glass industry. In 2014, he received the Alumni Fellow Award, the most prestigious award given by the Penn State Alumni Association.

Day earned a bachelor of science degree in ceramic engineering from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, now Missouri S&T, in 1958. He earned a master of science degree and doctorate in ceramic technology from Penn State in 1959 and 1961, respectively.

The NAI was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

With the election of the 2016 class, there are now 757 NAI Fellows, representing 229 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes. The full Fellows cohort has been named on more than 26,000 U.S. patents.

For a complete list of NAI Fellows, visit

  • Delbert Day

    Delbert Day, a Penn State alumnus, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Day earned a master of science degree and doctorate in ceramic technology from Penn State in 1959 and 1961, respectively. 

    IMAGE: Delbert Day

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Last Updated March 24, 2017