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Cockrell School Faculty Elected to the American Physical Society

The American Physical Society has elected four faculty members from The University of Texas Austin as Fellows for their groundbreaking work in the field of physics.

The APS fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one’s professional peers for exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise. APS fellows consist of only half of one percent of the organization’s overall membership.

This year, APS recognized two engineers from the Cockrell School of Engineering, Thomas Truskett, chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, and Andrea Alu, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In addition, the society elected Bruce J. Hunt from the university’s College of Natural Sciences and Xiaoqin (Elaine) Li of the College of Liberal Arts. Li is also a member of the Cockrell School’s Texas Materials Institute.

Thomas Truskett was cited for pioneering work elucidating how nanoscale interfaces impact the structure, dynamics and self-assembly of complex fluids and biomolecular systems. He studies how interfaces and confinement impact the properties of molecular liquids and crystals, colloidal and nanoparticle suspensions, protein solutions and glassy solids. His recent work is important for applications ranging from biomedical imaging, for example noninvasive monitoring of tumors, to the delivery of therapeutic proteins to treat a wide range of diseases, including cancer and allergies.

Andrea Alu was recognized for seminal contributions to electromagnetic theory and applications, nano optics, plasmonics and metamaterials. Alu has developed trailblazing technologies, including the first freestanding 3-D invisibility cloak capable of camouflaging objects from microwaves, the first nonreciprocal acoustic circulator (or one-way sound device) and the first magnetic-free radio wave circulator. His work has implications for communications, health care and security.

Bruce J. Hunt, associate professor of History, was recognized for groundbreaking work on the history of electromagnetism in the nineteenth century and the relationship between physics and technology. He studies the history of modern science, technology and British history. He’s published numerous articles on electrical theory and practice in the 19th century and maintains a strong research focus on the relationship between technology and science during that era, particularly in the British telegraph industry.

Xiaoqin (Elaine) Li, associate professor in the Department of Physics, was cited for contributions to quantum information, multi dimensional coherent spectroscopy, nanophotonics based on AFM assembly, and spin dynamics in ferromagnetic nanostructures. She studies the quantum dynamics of electrons. With the use of ultrafast laser pulses, she researches how light and matter interact at the nanoscale. Her research has numerous applications for the development of improved semiconductors to power electronics and communications devices.

A list of the 2015 APS Fellows and citations can be found on the APS website.