Written by: Ben Samples
The National Science Foundation (NSF) honored three Texas Tech University professors
with the prestigious CAREER award.
The award is a highly competitive honor reserved for outstanding scientists and engineers
who, early in their careers, show an exceptional commitment to research and education.
"That Texas Tech received three of these prestigious awards is a testament to the
quality of our faculty," said Kathleen Harris, senior associate vice president for
research. "These awards will allow the three recipients to build foundations for long
and successful research careers. The awards also will directly benefit our students
because each of these projects integrates research and education."Lenore Dai
Lenore Dai, assistant professor of chemical engineering, will receive $400,000 during
five years to research her proposal, "CAREER: Heterogeneous and Competitive Self-assembly
at Liquid-Liquid Interfaces."
Dai’s research involves the study of solid-stabilized emulsions – one liquid dispersed
into another, then stabilized by solid particles. In the past, most emulsions were
stabilized using chemicals called surfactants. Dai also will establish research-related
open-ended projects in existing courses, establish a new summer program to broaden
the participation of minority groups and promote technology transfer.
Jorge A. Morales
Jorge A. Morales, assistant professor of chemistry, will receive $570,000 throughout
five years for his proposal, "Building a Direct Dynamics with Coherent States."
Morales’ research involves inventing and developing a new theory to computationally
describe chemical reactions. The theory is then coded into a computer program to perform
simulations of chemical reactions. Morales will use the proposal funds to buy more
computers to conduct the research and to support undergraduate and post-doctoral students
developing the project.
Brandon Weeks, assistant professor of chemical engineering, will receive $400,000
during five years for his research proposal, "Understanding Nanoscale Properties of
Weeks will study the properties of energetic materials at the nanometer scale – a
level invisible to the naked eye – then use the findings on the macro-level to develop
new energetic materials. Included in Weeks’ proposal were plans to participate in
an undergraduate-mentoring program, work with a seventh-grade teacher at Atkins Junior
High School to introduce math and science activities, develop courses and a minor
in energetic materials, and to participate in continuing-education activities. The
goal is to cultivate students’ curiosity and encourage them to pursue education in
science and engineering fields.
CONTACT: Lenore Dai, assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas
Tech University, (806) 742-1757, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jorge A. Morales, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, Texas Tech University,
(806) 742-3094, email@example.com
Brandon Weeks, assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech
University, (806) 742-3998, firstname.lastname@example.org