U of I Researcher Nets Presidential Award
By Scott Cameron
The White House has awarded a University of Illinois researcher the highest government honor given to scientists and engineers in their early careers.
Lane Martin, a Materials Science and Engineering Professor on the Urbana campus, was one of 102 researchers awarded Monday with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
Martin’s work focuses on creating and manipulating materials to change their behavior – in other words, his team blasts materials with lasers, creates a tiny layer of atoms and then stretches and smashes that material.
Martin said the end goal is a product that efficiently collects or dissipates heat.
"There’s only so much energy we can produce, so we want to get most energy out of that process," he said. "If we waste 60% as heat we’re leaving a lot on table, increase that efficieny, never be perfect, but get a lot more out of what we produce and that’s a big difference."
Martin said the award comes with $1 million in research funds, and will likely make it easier for him to recruit top scientists.
Martin and the other recipients will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington D.C. in 2014.