NRI scientist earns US patent
Tuesday, 23 August , 2005, 02:01
An Indian American scientist has earned a US patent for his unique research work involving the synthesis of chemical processes and compounds in an environment friendly manner. T K Vinod, professor of chemistry at Western llinoisUniversity, earned his first-ever US patent, which was awarded for the synthesis of a water-soluble reagent named modified o-iodoxybenzoic acid and its demonstration as an effective oxidising agent.
The discovery, according to Vinod, began in a unique way:
His son, Arun Thottumkara, who was in eighth grade then, had to work for a science project for his school fair. The goal was to create DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellents, in an eco-friendly fashion. All went well, Arun presented an impressive project, but did not win a single prize.
"Seeing how disappointed he was, I was determined to help Arun find a science project that would teach him a significant amount of chemistry, and more importantly, help him regain his confidence," Vinod said.
"Originally I thought it would merely be a small science project in which I could teach Arun chemistry and laboratory techniques.” "This is the work for which Arun and I recently received a US patent," Vinod said. The US Patent and Trademark Office allowed the issuance of the patent to Western Illinois University based on this research. The actual patent will be issued within the next few months.
Vinod came to the Western Illinois University in 1997 after his master's degrees from the University of Calicut, India, and his PhD from Canada.