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Thiel Selected for APS Adler Lectureship Award

Award recognizes outstanding contributions to material physics field

For release: Oct. 14, 2009

Pat Thiel, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering, 515-294-8985
Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi, Public Affairs, 515-294-9750

AMES, Iowa—Pat Thiel, senior chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, has been named the winner of the 2010 David Adler Lectureship Award. The award, presented by the American Physical Society, recognizes Thiel as an outstanding contributor to the field of material physics, who is noted for the quality of her research, review articles and lecturing. The Adler Award is sponsored by the APS Division of Materials Physics and the friends of David Adler.


Thiel was also recently named the winner of the 2010 Arthur W. Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry, presented by the American Chemical Society. Thiel, who is also an Iowa State University Distinguished Professor in chemistry and materials science and engineering, will receive the Adler award at the APS 2010 March Meeting in Portland, Ore. The award consists of $5,000, travel expenses to the conference and a certificate. The certificate will note that Thiel is honored "for seminal contributions to surface structure and dynamics of complex metallic alloys, including quasicrystals and kinetically limited growth and relaxation of nanostructures in thin metal films." Thiel will also deliver an invited talk at the APS meeting.

"Pat is an outstanding researcher as indicated by the many awards she has won," said Ames Laboratory Director Alex King. "The Adler Award reflects something that we take special pride in at the Ames Laboratory. Although Pat is most often recognized as a chemist or a materials scientist, this award comes from the American Physical Society, and that speaks to the interdisciplinary nature of Pat's work. We value interdisciplinary research

very highly at the Ames Laboratory, and Pat Thiel exemplifies it at the very highest level."

Thiel has been active in research, teaching and administration. In research, she is known for her work in three main areas: nanostructure evolution on surfaces; surface properties and structures of quasicrystals (a complex type of metallic alloy); and the chemistry of water adsorbed on metal surfaces. She is an enthusiastic teacher of physical chemistry. She has held several administrative posts at Ames Laboratory and ISU, including the Lab's division director for Science and Technology and chair of the chemistry department, and in each position she has been the first woman to hold that post.

She received a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Macalester College, and a doctorate in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology in 1981. After postdoctoral work at the University of Munich as a von Humboldt Fellow, she joined the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories and then moved to Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory in 1983. In her early academic career, Thiel received awards from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. Later, she was elected a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Physics.

In 2008, Thiel received the Iota Sigma Pi Honorary Member Award from the National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry. She has been an Invitation Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, has received an honorary degree from the Institut National Polytechnic de Lorraine in France, and has received a DOE Award for Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment in Materials Chemistry. She has served on numerous boards and committees for major organizations, including the NSF, the DOE, the American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund and National Institutes of Health, and has been a member of editorial advisory boards for 10 journals. She has organized conferences and symposia within the frameworks of the Materials Research Society, APS, ACS AVS, and Gordon Research Conferences organizations. She has authored or co-authored approximately 260 publications, and has co-edited four books.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory operated for the DOE by Iowa State University.  Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global challenges.