The American Chemical Society (ACS) will honor University professors Emily Carter and William Russel this spring with awards for their career-long contributions to computer-based chemical research and colloid research, respectively.
Carter will receive the 2007 ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. Russel, who is also the dean of the Graduate School, will receive the 2007 ACS Award in Colloid and Surface Chemistry.
Carter, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering since 2004, creates computer simulations that can be used to study chemical reactions on an atomic level.
"I'm interested in being able to develop computer models for chemical processes by merging quantum mechanics with techniques for describing dynamics and kinetics," she said. This innovative approach allows Carter to create models that predict the properties of potentially useful materials without physically creating those materials beforehand.
Practical applications for her research include mechanisms for silicon etching, which can be used to create computer chips and materials to protect metals. The U.S. Air Force funded one of Carter's projects, which involved a thermal coating to protect jet engines and extend the lifespan of airplanes.
Russel, who joined the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1974 and became the dean of the Graduate School in 2002, describes his work as "studying colloidal dynamics and dispersion."
Colloids, or small particles dispersed in a fluid medium, are found in products such as butter, asphalt and glue, making Russel's research broadly applicable.
He has aided in the development of a family of superplasticizers, which make concrete strong yet easy to pour, and has studied how colloidal crystals form in low-gravity environments such as outer space.
Russel and Carter will receive their awards during the ACS's annual meeting in Chicago in late March.
The ACS, a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress, boasts over 158,000 members in chemistry and chemistry-related fields.
It administers 58 prestigious National Awards annually to recognize "individual or team accomplishments in diverse fields of the chemical sciences," according to its website.