Contact: Dan Ludois, 608-262-8211, [email protected]
MADISON – When Dan Ludois was growing up near Beloit, Wisconsin, he drew extension cords for fun. As a graduate student, he daydreamed about power conversion.
“Electricity,” says the University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of electrical and computer engineering, “has always been my thing.”
Today, Ludois is a Moore Inventor Fellow and one step closer to bringing a potentially transformative invention into the world.
Awarded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Moore Inventor Fellowship is in its second year of providing freedom and support to the nation’s most promising inventors. Ludois will receive $825,000 in research funding over three years to demonstrate the utility of his electrostatic motor.
“Our foundation provides these early-career researchers with time and freedom to develop ideas that will make a positive difference,” says Robert Kirshner, chief program officer for science at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “Nurturing these scientist-inventors within universities and providing them a glimpse of the outside world will help their ideas have a real impact.”
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation and patient care improvements.
“With the Intel Corporation, Gordon Moore changed the world,” Ludois says. “We have smartphones in our hands and robots on Mars because of Moore. So to be selected, to be considered a ‘Moore Inventor,’ it’s a little bit surreal.”
An estimated 46 percent of all the electricity generated in the world is used to power electric motors. These workhorses do the majority of our pumping, heating, cooling, drilling, pressing, cutting, grinding, and moving. But Ludois’s invention represents a fundamental change in how these machines work, and could become a cheaper, more sustainable, and more efficient alternative.