Professor honored for ground-breaking research

Professor honored for ground-breaking research

January 23
00:03 2013

Daniel Bissell / Staff Writer

Dr. Angela Wilson, regents professor of chemistry at UNT, was nominated as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow for her work in development and understanding of quantum chemistry methodology.

Wilson is one of only two professors from the state to be honored by the organization out of the 95 total honorees.

“I’m honored to have been selected and recognized for my work,” Wilson said.

Wilson said her group of 24 researchers is involved in over 30 projects ranging from method and basis set development to an array of chemical problems.

Using advanced approaches in computational chemistry, researchers can now address the chemistry of important issues such as acid rain and ozone depletion and aid in areas such as the prediction and understanding the properties of luminescent materials, she said.

The scarcity of rare earth metals is one issue that Wilson’s team is using these methods to help solve.

“We are facing shortages of materials that could affect everything from cell phones to weaponry,” Wilson said.

Supply challenges for five rare earth metals – dysprosium, neodymium, terbium, europium and yttrium -– may affect clean energy technology deployment in the years ahead, according to the Dept. of Energy.

“This report provides information to help with the transition to a clean energy future, identifying strategies for responding to potential shortages of critical materials in the years ahead,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in the Dept. of Energy’s press release. “It will help us seize opportunities, using American innovation to find substitutes, promote recycling and help secure supplies of rare earth elements and other materials used in energy technologies.”

While Wilson’s groundbreaking research has garnered national attention, she said she is not the only one who deserves such recognition.

“Many more of my colleagues deserve to be nominated,” Wilson said. “I hope they will also be recognized for their hard work.”

Dr. Narendra Dahotre, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is UNT’s most recent AAAS Fellow nominee.

Dahotre was nominated for his work in laser-based engineering technology. In 2010, he was awarded a grant of more than $200,000 to make metallic glasses stronger by using laser-bound technology.

He said he was proud of Dr. Wilson’s recent accomplishment.

“This puts us in an elite group of scientists and engineers,” Dahotre said. “We’re in a very small group nationwide.”

The nominees for the AAAS Fellows were announced in November and will be officially recognized in Boston in February.

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