Research, technology and outreach achievements

Selena Russell

Discoveries, then and now

Iowa State has an impressive history of discovery and innovation and is adding new chapters each year. Iowa State is home to:

  • The world’s first electronic digital computer and the encoding process essential to nearly all FAX machines
  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, whose scientists developed a lead-free solder that’s licensed worldwide and led in the creation of iron-arsenide superconducting materials
  • The world’s largest tornado simulator for wind energy research
  • The world’s highest resolution immersive virtual reality lab
  • The largest concentration of faculty involved in sustainable agriculture teaching and research
  • The first-in-the nation research and demonstration farm devoted to biomass production and processing
  • Cystorm, a super computer that performs more than 28 trillion calculations per second
  • The Bioeconomy Institute, a leader in developing new sources of energy, fuels, and other products from renewable resources
  • Breakthrough discoveries on the effects of video game violence on youth.

2011 Nobel Prize winner

Dan Shechtman won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his 1982 discovery of quasicrystals, a discovery that forced scientists to rethink ideas about matter and its atomic arrangement. Shechtman is an Iowa State professor of materials science and engineering, a research scientist for the U.S. Department or Energy's Ames Laboratory, and a professor at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

R&D Awards

Researchers at Iowa State and the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have won 33 Research and Development 100 Awards. The awards salute the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year. The Chicago Tribune has called the awards the "Oscars of Invention.

Entrepreneurial ventures

The 230-acre ISU Research Park is closely connected with the university, but operates independently to help tenants reach proprietary goals, and assists growing Iowa-based companies in a setting that encourages entrepreneurial ventures. More than 50 companies in the park contribute to economic development and job creation.

Among the best

Research algae

Top research university

Iowa State University belongs to the Association of American Universities, which comprises 61 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.

Research central

Iowa State and the city of Ames make an impressive research combo that includes:

  • A U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory (Ames Lab)
  • Five U.S. Department of Agriculture research laboratories
  • The nation’s finest genomic-based agricultural breeding programs
  • World-renowned virtual reality facilities, plant science and bioeconomy institutes
  • One of the nation’s most successful technology transfer programs

ISU also has new initiatives in innovative, integrated health and biorenewables.