Google Earth creator Brian McClendon is KU’s newest National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Tue, 12/12/2023


Erinn Barcomb-Peterson

LAWRENCE — The National Academy of Inventors has added another Jayhawk to its fellows.

Brian McClendon, research professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, was named among the 162 academic inventors in the 2023 Class of Fellows on Dec. 12. Election as an academy fellow is the highest professional distinction awarded solely to inventors.

“Inventions represent the culmination of a long research timeline — from idea creation, to hypothesis testing, to translation of results, to application. Becoming a nationally recognized fellow is a tremendous honor that we can all celebrate,” said Belinda Sturm, interim vice chancellor for research. “We are also proud that Brian is an alum of KU and has chosen to continue his career at KU as a research professor in the School of Engineering.” 

McClendon earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from KU in 1986. He spent eight years at Silicon Graphics developing high-end workstation 3D graphics.

In 2001, he was one of the original investors in Keyhole Inc., a software visualization application, where he was the vice president of engineering. Google acquired Keyhole in 2004, and its main application suite, Earth Viewer, formed the basis of Google Earth.

McClendon served as vice president of engineering at Google for 10 years. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2015 for his strategic, technical and managerial leadership resulting in widespread geographic information.

McClendon holds 40 patents.

“Brian McClendon is a brilliant thinker and a great Jayhawk engineer,” said Arvin Agah, dean of the KU School of Engineering. “This well-deserved recognition — and his outstanding overall career — are a source of pride for the entire KU Engineering community.”

Since its inception in 2012, the NAI Fellows program has grown to include 1,898 exceptional researchers and innovators, who hold more than 63,000 U.S. patents and 13,000 licensed technologies. NAI Fellows are known for the societal and economic impact of their inventions, contributing to major advancements in science and consumer technologies. Their innovations have generated more than $3 trillion in revenue and generated 1 million jobs.  

KU was named a member of the National Academy of Inventors in 2013. Since then, six faculty members have been named fellows while at KU:

2023 — Brian McClendon

2018 — Mark Shiflett, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering

2017 — Cory Berkland, Solon E. Summerfield Distinguished Professor in KU’s departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chemical & Petroleum Engineering

2016 — Raghunath Chaudhari, Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering

2015 — Val Stella, distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Bala Subramaniam, the Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering

The 2023 class of fellows will be honored and presented their medals at the National Academy of Inventors 13th Annual Meeting in June 2024.

Tue, 12/12/2023


Erinn Barcomb-Peterson

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Erinn Barcomb-Peterson

KU News Service