Nobuhiko Kobayashi elected to the 2023 National Academy of Inventors

Nobby Kobayashi in his lab behind silver pipes and equipment.
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Nobby Kobayahsi in his lab with an experimental system, often referred to as magnetron-sputtering system, for fabricating cutting-edge semiconductor devices.
Nobuhiko (Nobby) Kobayashi, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Cruz, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).  

Kobayashi is an expert in energy conversion technology, semiconductors, and optoelectronics, and currently holds more than 20 U.S. patents. He leads the Nanostructured Energy Conversion Technology and Research (NECTAR) lab at UCSC which focuses on harvesting, converting, storing, generating, and transmitting energy, as well as cutting energy consumption through technological innovation. His lab is currently focused on generating hydrogen from seawater as a form of renewable energy.

“I am absolutely delighted to be elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI),” Kobayahsi said. “Before embarking on my journey with UC Santa Cruz, I dedicated over a decade to honing my skills in various industrial settings, including multiple dynamic startup ventures. These experiences profoundly instilled in me the significance of claiming ownership of innovative ideas to drive technological advancements in our fiercely competitive world.”

“Upon joining UCSC, I carried forward the invaluable lessons gleaned from my industrial endeavors, earnestly striving to infuse tangible value and diverse perspectives into both teaching and research within the fields of electrical engineering and materials science/engineering. This commitment holds particular importance as it translates into a daily practice of defining and solving complex problems — integral aspects of academic life. Receiving the honor of being elected as a NAI Fellow further fuels my dedication to contribute to the advancement of engineering and technology, with a specific focus on semiconductors and energy, and I am genuinely eager to play an active role in pushing the boundaries of knowledge and fostering innovation in these critical domains,” he said.

Kobayashi joined the Baskin School of Engineering in 2008 after working at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Agilent Laboratories. He received a M.S. and Ph.D. degree in materials science from University of Southern California.

“Nobby has been a key inventive mind in the fields of semiconductors and memristive devices, which have shaped the modern technology landscape. Now, he is turning his work to some of the most crucial issues of the day by creating innovative new methods to produce renewable energy,” said Alexander Wolf, Dean of the Baskin School of Engineering. “I’m pleased to see his contributions recognized by the NAI.”

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. Election as a NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors.

Kobayashi is among 162 academic inventors newly elected as NAI Fellows this year. The 2023 Class of Fellows will be honored and presented their medals by a senior official of the United States Patent and Trademark Office at the NAI 13th Annual Meeting on June 18, 2024 in Raleigh, North Carolina.