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Awards 2012-1

Canfield selected for
E.O. Lawrence Award

ImageAmes Laboratory physicist Paul Canfield has won a 2011 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award in recognition of his outstanding work in synthesizing and characterizing materials in single crystal form. Canfield is the first Ames Laboratory scientist to win a Lawrence Award.

Canfield, who is also a Distinguished Professor and the Robert Allen Wright Professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University, accepted the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2012.  He is one of only nine winners named for 2011.

The Lawrence Award citation reads, “Paul C. Canfield will be honored for innovative syntheses and high-quality single crystal solution growth of novel new materials and the collaborative consummate elucidation of their fundamental properties using a range of techniques.”
The latter part of the citation is exceptionally appropriate according to Canfield.

“I have been truly fortunate to enjoy a host of friends, colleagues and collaborators over the past 20 years at Ames Lab,” says Canfield.  “We can, and have repeatedly, formed groups and teams to tackle problems that would be too large for a single researcher or group.  This is not only efficient, but also fun, like sharing an intense obsession or hobby with friends.”

The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Award recognizes contributions in research and development supporting the DOE. The Lawrence Award was established in 1959 to honor the memory of Dr. Ernest Orlando Lawrence, who invented the cyclotron, a particle accelerator.  The award includes a gold medal and an honorarium.



Jenks named AAAS Fellow

Ames Laboratory’s Cynthia Jenks, assistant director for scientific planning and division director of chemical and biological sciences, has been elected as a 2011 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jenks was elected a AAAS Fellow for her “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”
Jenks was cited for “major discoveries about surfaces of aluminum-rich quasicrystals, for sustained scientific outreach, and for leadership in scientific planning within the Ames Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.”

Vela makes Hispanic Engineer’s “Top 40”
Javier Vela-Becerra, Ames Laboratory chemist, has made Hispanic Engineer magazine’s “40 under 40” list of top young engineers. Vela was featured in the fall issue of the magazine, and his research is focused on photoactive nanomaterials for applications in biology, catalysis and energy. To see the article, go to
IPAT co-founders Joel Reiken and Andy Heidloff
IPAT one of “America’s Next Top Energy Innovators”
Iowa Powder Atomization Technologies, founded by Ames Lab research assistants Joel Rieken and Andy Heidloff, was one of the top three startup companies  selected in the Department of Energy’s “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” challenge.  The contest, which included 14 startup companies from around the country, was based on a public vote and an expert review.
IPAT is using gas atomization technology developed at Ames Laboratory to make titanium powder. Powdered titanium is easier to work with than casting the metal, particularly given titanium’s tendency to react with the mold material. Titanium’s strength, light weight, biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion make it ideal for use in  artificial limbs, military-vehicle components, biomedical implants, aerospace fasteners and chemical plant valves.
As part of America’s Next Top Energy Innovator, the DOE reduces both the cost and paperwork requirements for startup companies to obtain option agreements to license some of the 15,000 patents and patent applications  held by its 17 national laboratories.

Thiel named MRS Fellow
ImageAmes Laboratory chemist Pat Thiel has been named a Fellow of the Materials Research Society for 2012. Thiel was chosen for her “seminal contributions to understanding the structure, reactivity, and tribology of quasicrystal surfaces, and to understanding growth and stability of metal nanostructures and metal thin films.”

Thiel, who is also an Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of chemistry, has been an active member of MRS for many years and has served as co-chair for two different MRS symposia in the past. She is the third Ames Laboratory researcher to be named MRS Fellow, joining Ames Lab Director Alex King (2009) and metallurgist Karl Gschneidner (2011).

The honor is just the latest in a long list of achievements for Thiel. She is also a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society, the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics.


Ho awarded APS 2012
Aneesur Rahman Prize

Ames Laboratory physicist Kai-Ming Ho has been selected by the American Physical Society to receive the 2012 Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics sponsored by International Business Machines. Ho was selected for the prize for “his pioneering work in the development of computational physics for photonic crystal and atomic cluster structures calculations.”

The Rahman Prize, established in 1992 with support from the IBM Corporation, recognizes and encourages outstanding achievement in computational physics research. It consists of an honorarium and a certificate.

Houk receives ACS Spectrochemical Analysis Award
ImageAmes Laboratory researcher and Iowa State University chemistry professor Robert S. (Sam) Houk has been honored with the 2012 Award in Spectrochemical Analysis, presented by the Analytical Division of American Chemical Society. Houk will receive the award at the ACS national meeting in Philadelphia in August.

Houk is the 26th recipient of the award since its inception in 1987 and joins his Ames Lab colleague and mentor, the late Velmer Fassel (1988), in being so honored.

According to Houk, his nomination was based on a number of improvements he has made to inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy, or ICP-MS, a technique that converts compounds into their atomic components. The highly sensitive equipment is capable of detecting extremely small concentrations of these atomic components, as low as parts per trillion.