Research begins at home, then goes everywhere

Research begins at home, then goes everywhere | Blog from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

In my last blog, I talked about the amazing achievements of our undergraduate researchers.

I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to our faculty researchers, who are not only leading-edge experts in their fields, but teachers, mentors, guides and enthusiastic supporters of the idea that it is never too early to begin to do research.

The striking student achievements I mentioned last time would not be possible without the dedication of faculty members committed to igniting a passion for discovery in students at all levels.

They never tire of “passing the torch” to the next generation of scientists, artists and scholars.

It is a rare faculty laboratory, studio or work space that does not host at least one undergraduate student researcher.

Each of our Denman winners; each of our Pelotonia Fellows, works with a faculty advisor, dedicated to their success.

Many times, these students make significant contributions to their advisor’s work.

Case in point: undergraduate chemistry major Elisabeth Bianco. In 2012, she won first place in a national nanotech competition and brought home a $3,000 prize for her exploration of the properties of a one-atom thick layer of germanium in advisor Joshua Goldberger’s lab.

Goldberger says Bianco actually spearheaded the project, synthesizing and characterizing germanium for the first time.

Now, Goldberger is PI on a new, four-year, $2 million project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation.

He heads a team looking at controlling and modulating the thermal conductance and thermoelectric properties of germanium and tin by manipulating the materials’ thermal properties on the atomic level.

Goldberger is pleased that the work of Bianco, now a graduate student at Rice University, led to further research of the ultrathin material by five senior researchers.

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