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02/19/2004 08:00:00

Caltech ranks No. 2 among American universities in number of patents awarded in 2003

PASADENA, Calif.—The California Institute of Technology for the first time moved into second place among all American universities in the number of annual patents awarded, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For 2003, Caltech was awarded 139 patents, which was slightly ahead of MIT's 127 patents but behind the University of California System with its 439 patents.

The ranking is welcome news to Rich Wolf, who is Caltech's director of technology transfer. "This ranking further demonstrates the commitment on the part of the Institute to commercialize the science and technology developed in the course of basic research.

"What the ranking does not show is the fact that nearly two-thirds of these patents have been licensed to companies trying to develop new technology products to benefit the public sector," Wolf added. "A significant number of these patents have been licensed to start-up companies that have provided jobs and boosted the local economy.

"Caltech is still committed to giving something back to the public by making its science become product realities."

According to the patent office, the University of Texas System was fourth on the 2003 list, with 96 patents, followed by Stanford University with 85. Others in the top 10 were the University of Wisconsin System (84), Johns Hopkins University (70), the University of Michigan (63), Columbia University (61), Cornell University (59), and the University of Florida (59).

Founded in 1891, Caltech is located on a 124-acre campus in Pasadena. The Institute also manages the nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory and operates eight other off-campus astronomical, seismological, and marine biology facilities. Caltech has an enrollment of some 2,000 students, more than half of whom are in graduate studies, and a faculty of about 280 professorial members and 65 research members, and some 560 postdoctoral scholars. Caltech employs a staff of more than 2,600 on campus and 5,100 at JPL.

U.S. News &World Report consistently ranks Caltech's undergraduate and graduate programs as being among the nation's best. The average SAT score of members of recent incoming freshman classes has consistently been at 1500.

Over the years, 30 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-seven Caltech faculty members and alumni have received the National Medal of Science; and nine alumni (two of whom are also trustees; and one of whom is also a faculty member), two additional trustees, and one additional faculty member have won the National Medal of Technology.

Since 1958, 14 faculty members have received the annual California Scientist of the Year award. On the Caltech faculty there are 82 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 70 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 45 members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Caltech has more than 21,000 alumni.