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Hersam Honored by President Bush in White House Ceremony

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July 27, 2006 | by Megan Fellman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Mark Hersam, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, was honored at the White House yesterday (July 26) as a recipient of the 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

The award, established in 1996, is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent careers.

Hersam, after having photographs taken with President George W. Bush and other PECASE recipients, received his award from John H. Marburger, III, science advisor to President Bush and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, during a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Hersam was cited for outstanding research in applied science; silicon-based molecular electronics; nanoscale optoelectronics and atomic-resolution processing; and characterization of electronic, organic and biological materials and molecules using scanning probe microscopy. He also was honored for outstanding teaching and outreach in the fields of nanoscale science and engineering including curriculum development, mentoring of undergraduate research and development of the Global Nanotechnology Network which disseminates nanotechnology educational materials via the Internet.

Eight federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate young scientists and engineers whose work is of greatest benefit to the nominating agency’s mission. Nominated by the U.S. Army Research Office, Hersam will receive $500,000 over five years.

Hersam’s research focuses on developing scanning probe microscopy techniques that enable sensing, characterization and actuation at the single molecule level. His research impacts many fields including materials science, chemistry, biology, physics and electrical engineering.

His research is accomplished with sophisticated instrumentation including three ambient atomic force microscopes and four homebuilt ultra-high vacuum scanning tunneling microscopes.

Hersam, who joined Northwestern in 2000, has received many awards during his career. Recent awards include the American Vacuum Society Peter Mark Award (2006), the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society’s Robert Lansing Hardy Award (2006), the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2005), the Army Research Office Young Investigator Award (2005), a Sloan Foundation Fellowship (2005), the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2002) and the Beckman Young Investigator Award (2001).

He has co-written numerous articles, which have appeared in various journals including Nano Letters, Nanotechnology, Applied Physics Letters, Review of Scientific Instruments, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Physical Review Letters, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Advanced Materials and Langmuir.

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