Charles W. Hull (EngrPhys’61) was named among the 2023 recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for his exemplary achievements in technology and innovation through his invention of 3D printing.
Awarded by President Biden on Oct. 24, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation is the nation’s highest award for technological achievement. Along with the National Medal of Science, it recognizes American innovators whose vision, intellect, creativity and determination have strengthened America’s economy and improved our quality of life.
After Hull completed his degree in engineering physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, he worked with a DuPont subsidiary before going on to invent the solid imaging process known as stereolithography. This became the basis of the first commercial 3D printing technology, which spurred the dawning of a dynamic industry in the United States.
Upon securing a stereolithography patent in 1986, Hull then founded 3D Systems Corp. Hull initiated the 3D printing industry and remains involved in the corporation’s day-to-day operations through a range of innovative applications, including state-of-the art production of 3D printers to the first home-certified 3D printer, the award-winning Cube.
“We were thrilled to learn that Chuck Hull has been awarded with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation,” said Massimo Ruzzene, CU Boulder vice chancellor for research and innovation and dean of the institutes. “His pioneering work in stereolithography, 3D printing and prototyping was truly transformative, making this honor well-deserved, as well as an example of the culture of innovation CU Boulder has long sought to foster.”
A member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Hull is credited as the inventor on more than 90 U.S. patents in the field of ion optics and 3D printing. As a strong advocate for education and training of youth in all aspects of this rapidly growing technology, Hull received an honorary degree from the University of Colorado Board of Regents in 2016.
Photo by Ryan K. Morris