Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Hong Yang recently received the CAREER Award, one of the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards.

“The award was finalized in late February 2005,” Yang said. “I was certainly excited to learn that I was recommended for a CAREER Award because of the recognition of this award.”

The aim of the award is to provide grants of up to $520,000 to young and talented scientists in order to help them enhance their research.

To receive the funding, each prospective candidate submits extensive proposals that incorporate both research and education.

These proposals must then be recommended by the National Science Foundation in order to be considered as a final candidate.

Yang’s research investigates certain material properties that exist in nanometer-scales, and how these nanomaterials interact in a cooperative manner.

“The collective properties of such nanomaterials can out perform each individual component,” Yang said. “One example are the so-called exchange coupled magnetic nanocomposites, which can be many times powerful than the common horseshoe magnets.”

The challenge of the research is that since nanometer-sized materials are about 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of the human hair, he has to control the structure of these materials with precision and accuracy.

“We try to design and engineer compositionally complex and uniform core-shell nanoparticles and use them as building blocks to make the multifunctional nanomaterials that can be used as the advantaged magnets,” Yang said.

Yang’s research contributes to the development of more efficient electric motors for automobiles, airplanes and space vehicles.

In addition to his research, he works with and intensively educates talented local high school seniors, undergraduates and graduates who wish to pursue or are pursuing a career in engineering.

Yang works with local high students through the American Chemical Society Project’s SEED and Pittsford Summer Internship Program. He also works with undergraduates through the chemical engineering department’s internship programs.

“The synthesis-oriented nature of my research program is actually quite beneficial for the undergraduate intern students as they can conduct the exploratory research after a short period of training,” Yang said. “One of our highly cited refereed papers is the result of an Eisenberg summer undergraduate intern from the chemical engineering department. This student subsequently won the Charles L. Newton Prize from The College.”

“I am very fortunate to be able to work with such talented and highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students,” Yang added. “It is a very rewarding experience for me.”

Aoyama can be reached at yaoyama@campustimes.org.



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