Seven Faculty Named AAAS Fellows

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From cave art to clean water to nuclear security, UT faculty are being recognized for their teaching and research in a variety of disciplines.

Seven professors have been named by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to their 2012 class of fellows.

This year, 702 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The new fellows will be presented with an official certificate February 16 at the AAAS annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Our professors’ contributions to discovery and education continue to better the world,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “These professors’ research has revealed knowledge about our history, uncovered the innermost workings of atoms and helped solve complex environmental problems. Their work is making our world a better place to live.”

The appointment of seven new AAAS fellows gives UT a total of forty-five.

The newly honored fellows, and the citations on their awards, are:

Pengcheng Dai, professor of physics: For distinguished contributions to the understanding of the magnetic properties in copper and iron-based high temperature superconductors, heavy fermion metals, and colossal magnetoresistance manganites.

Howard Hall, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Global Nuclear Security: For distinguished contributions to the field of nuclear security, particularly for the interdisciplinary applications of science, technology, policy, and education to this field. Hall is the director of the UT Institute for Nuclear Security and senior fellow and director of global security programs at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Jimmy Mays, professor of polymer chemistry and UT-ORNL distinguished scientist: For seminal contributions to controlled synthesis and thorough characterization of tailored macromolecular architectures, allowing elucidation of novel structure-property relationships and correlation with theory.

Gary Sayler, Beaman Distinguished University Professor of Microbiology: For distinguished research, teaching and service contributions in microbial ecology and environmental biotechnology, particularly for development of microbial biosensors and molecular understanding of environmental hydrocarbon degradation. Sayler is the founding director of UT’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology and the UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Institute for Biological Sciences.

Jan Simek, distinguished professor of anthropology: For distinguished contributions to the field of prehistoric archaeology, especially for work on European Neanderthals and the discovery of North American prehistoric cave art. Simek is president emeritus of the UT system and also served as interim chancellor for the Knoxville campus.

Alexei Sokolov, Governor’s Chair in Polymer Science: For distinguished contributions to the field of dynamics of soft materials, including polymers, glass-forming liquids, and biological macromolecules.

Carol Tenopir, Chancellor’s professor of information sciences: For distinguished contributions in research and teaching to the field of information sciences, notably in ongoing study of the online information industry and scholarly reading patterns of scientists. Tenopir is the director of research for the College of Communication and Information and the Center for Information and Communication Studies.

AAAS is one of the largest scientific organizations in the world, serving more than 260 individual science societies with more than ten million members. It also publishes the journal Science.

Fellows must be nominated to membership either by three current fellows, the CEO of AAAS or AAAS steering groups. Nominations are subject to approval by the AAAS Council. The first class of fellows was named in 1874.

For more information on the nomination process and to search a database of current AAAS fellows, visit the AAAS website.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, wheins@utk.edu)

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