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Assistant Professor Kechun Zhang won the 2014 Early Innovator Award for his invention of a renewable, sugar-based alternative to petroleum. The inaugural University of Minnesota Innovation Awards sought to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding University innovators who have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, are actively engaged in developing new innovations and transitioning those technologies to the commercial market, and who have made an impact on society. The Office for Technology Commercialization, in partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research, sponsored the awards.

Related: http://www.research.umn.edu/forresearchers/innovations.html#.VJDSOcm9ZcY



Regents Professor Frank S. Bates, along with Chris Leighton, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, and Sangwoo Lee (former CEMS post-doctoral fellow) recently published pioneering research on "Sphericity and symmetry breaking in the formation of Frank-Kasper phases from one component materials" in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Understanding how particles fill space has challenged mathematicians, scientists, and technologists since antiquity. Their new research findings rationalize the spontaneous organization of single-component diblock copolymers into multimolecular nanoscale domains that order into a low-symmetry Frank–Kasper (FK) phase with short-range tetrahedral close packing and a giant unit cell. This class of crystal structures bridges conventional periodic crystals and low symmetry aperiodic crystals often termed “quasicrystals.”

Surprising analogies are thus drawn between the formation of FK structures in soft materials, and in certain elemental metals (including manganese and uranium), alloys, and intermetallic compounds, highlighting opportunities to better understand space filling in hard and soft materials by investigation of block polymers with precisely tuned molecular architectures.

Related: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/50/17723.abstract



CEMS graduate student Md Al Mehedi won a $10,000 grand prize in the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) competition held December 4, 2014 at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment in St. Paul. Mehedi's winning project, “Rare Earth–Free Permanent Magnets,” described a new process for making magnets out of iron and nitrogen that obviates the need to use rare earth elements that are integral to standard magnets used for applications such as motors and generators, but that depend upon extraction processes that are energy intensive, technologically challenging, environmentally hazardous and threatening to human health and agriculture. Mehedi is advised by Distinguished McKnight University Professor Jian-Ping Wang in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
CEMS graduate students Christoph Krumm and Katherine Vinter were runners-up in the competition, each receiving $2,500.

Related: http://environment.umn.edu/education-leadership/sisca-challenge/



Dr. Franklin (Lynn) Orr (Ph.D. ChemE '76) was confirmed by the Senate on December 4, 2014 as the Under Secretary for Science and Energy at the Department of Energy.
As Under Secretary for Science and Energy, Dr. Orr will oversee all of the Department of Energy’s science research programs, including a majority of the national labs. This position is part of the Department’s s recent reorganization, which expanded the Under Secretary for Science role to encompass both science and energy. Dr. Orr’s role will include oversight of research in the Offices of Science, Fossil Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Nuclear Energy, Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Indian Energy, and the Technology Transfer Coordinator.
For almost 30 years, Dr. Orr has been a member of the faculty at Stanford University. Dr. Orr has taken part in various studies conducted by the National Academies’ National Research Council. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment.

Related: http://www.energy.gov/articles/dr-franklin-orr-confirmed-under-secretary-science-and-energy



The new Gore Annex, a 40,000-square-foot expansion to Amundson Hall, was made possible through generous donations from Bob (Ph.D. ChemE '63) and Jane Gore and The Dow Chemical Company. In addition, Valspar Corporation funded a new 3,000-square-foot materials science and engineering laboratory located in the Gore Annex. Watch the video to learn more about how the Gore Annex will create a legacy of success in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.



Professor C. Daniel Frisbie has been appointed as Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS) effective July 1, 2014. Regents Professor Frank S. Bates previously served in that role for 15 years. Frisbie, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, has been a faculty member in CEMS since 1994 and served as a Director of Graduate Studies for Materials Science and Engineering from 2004 to 2013. Congratulations Dan!

Related: http://www.cems.umn.edu/about/people/faculty.id20228.html