ANN ARBOR, Mich.-For their research and teaching achievements, two University of Michigan engineering professors received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) at a White House ceremony today. (Dec. 19) Anna Michalak is an assistant professor in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences.
(Media-Newswire.com) - ANN ARBOR, Mich.—For their research and teaching achievements, two University of Michigan engineering professors received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers ( PECASE ) at a White House ceremony today. ( Dec. 19 )
Anna Michalak is an assistant professor in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences.
Max Shtein is an assistant professor in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering; Macromolecular Science and Engineering; and Chemical Engineering. Shtein is also an assistant professor in the School of Art and Design.
They are two of 67 researchers from across the nation to receive the award from the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy. It is the highest honor the federal government gives to early-career scientists and engineers.
Michalak, one of three recipients nominated by NASA, is honored for developing innovative geostatistical modeling tools to study carbon cycling and global distribution of carbon dioxide, as well as for outstanding contributions to science education.
Her work is helping to map the sources and uptakes of carbon dioxide across the globe. She has grants from NASA totaling more than $1.6 million to study the fluctuations of atmospheric CO2 both globally and over North America. Her research uses these fluctuations to better understand how, where, and why plants and oceans are taking carbon out of the atmosphere.
Today only about half of the carbon dioxide emitted through human activity such as fossil fuel burning stays in the atmosphere. Plants and oceans take up the other half. Carbon cycle scientists want to better understand this process, so they can better predict how these "carbon sinks" will evolve. Studies indicate that plants and oceans may not always take up as much carbon as they do today, which could have major implications for climate change.
"This is an incredible honor," Michalak said of her award. "I also have to add that much of the research on which this award is based was conducted by my graduate students and postdocs, and they therefore deserve at least as much credit as I do."
Shtein is one of 15 nominated by the Department of Defense. He is honored for developing novel ways to make the next-generation of energy-efficient lighting devices, displays and solar cells. His mentoring of underrepresented minority students at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels is also noted in the award citation.
Shtein made key contributions in developing commercially-viable techniques for manufacturing organic light-emitting diodes, transistors and solar cells, which hold tremendous promise for efficient and cost-effective energy and lighting, among other applications. The techniques he helped to develop include organic vapor phase deposition and organic vapor jet printing.
Organic vapor phase deposition uses a stream of gas to deposit organic semiconductors onto other materials in an even and orderly manner, which results in a better-performing device. Organic vapor jet printing actually prints organic semiconductors onto other materials with little waste.
At Michigan, Shtein has focused on developing novel kinds of devices such as multifunctional textiles for energy harvesting, lighting and sensing, and on understanding the fundamental physical properties of organic semiconductor materials and organic-inorganic interfaces.
"I'm very surprised and very honored to receive this award," Shtein said. "It is a carrot and a stick at once. I feel positive pressure from the award to think better and work harder." Shtein also shares credit with the graduate students who have worked in his lab.
Michigan Engineering: The University of Michigan College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. At more than $130 million annually, its engineering research budget is one of largest of any public university. Michigan Engineering is home to 11 academic departments and a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. The college plays a leading role in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and hosts the world class Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. Michigan Engineering's premier scholarship, international scale and multidisciplinary scope combine to create The Michigan Difference. Find out more at http://www.engin.umich.edu/.
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