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Donald Thompson, IPRT, (515) 294-8047
Robert Mills, IPRT, (515) 294-1113
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Donald Thompson, a retired distinguished professor of engineering and a scientific adviser for the Institute for Physical Research and Technology (IPRT) at Iowa State University, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Nondestructive Evaluation from the Society of Optical Engineers (SPIE). Thompson was presented the honor during SPIE's Smart Structures/NDE 2003 conference, March 2-6, in San Diego.

Thompson was a pioneer in the field of nondestructive evaluation (NDE), the practice of non-destructively testing a material's ability to perform its intended function and prevent failure. Throughout his career, Thompson worked to develop a scientific basis for NDE and raise it to an engineering and scientific discipline. He was the founding director of Iowa State's Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, which is a world leader in NDE research, education and application to industry.

Thompson, a retired Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Engineering, also helped develop a minor program in NDE at ISU, the first program of its type. In 1998, Thompson was instrumental in starting the World Federation of Nondestructive Evaluation Centers, which seeks to improve NDE technology and its uniform application.

Thompson is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and was recently named a foreign associate of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, International Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Rockwell International Science Center.

Originally from and now living in Clear Lake, Thompson earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Iowa. He joined Iowa State in 1979 after working at the U.S. Air Force Cambridge Research Center, Cambridge, Mass.; Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Rockwell International, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Iowa State's Center for Nondestructive Evaluation is a National Science Foundation Industry/University cooperative research center and a member of IPRT, a network of research, technology-transfer and industrial-outreach centers at ISU.


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