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Emily Weiss Receives Prestigious Packard Fellowship

October 19, 2010 | by Megan Fellman

Emily Weiss
Emily Weiss

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Emily A. Weiss, the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, has been awarded a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Weiss is among the 17 promising science and engineering researchers nationwide named this year to receive an unrestricted research grant of $875,000 over five years. These professors are tackling some of the critical research questions of our time and promise to have a big impact not just on their fields but also on the students working with them.

Weiss and her research group focus on the optical and electronic properties of nanostructures and how those properties relate to the chemistry at the surface of the nanostructures. The group currently is concentrating on quantum dots (semiconductor nanocrystals).

With her Packard Foundation funding, Weiss aims to create a new class of materials that can move charge efficiently over large distances. She will work on discovering fundamentally new ways that charge moves through matter in the presence of rationally designed defects and thereby transform insulating soft materials (films of molecules, polymers and nanoparticles) into conducting materials.

The work will create new paradigms for charge transport in nominally insulating -- and often strongly light-absorbing -- soft materials. This could dramatically expand the set of low-cost materials available to construct flexible circuits for bio-integrable electronic devices and high-performance solar cells.

Prior to joining Northwestern in 2008, Weiss was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University for three years. Her other awards include the Department of Energy Early Career Research Award (2010), the Air Force Young Investigator Award (2009), the Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award (2008) and a Dow Teacher-Scholar Award (2008).

The Packard Foundation invited presidents of 50 U.S. universities to nominate two young professors, each doing innovative research in the natural sciences or engineering. The 17 Packard Fellowship recipients then were chosen from this group.

“Each year, we are inspired by the early career science and engineering faculty we are able to support through these fellowships,” said Lynn Orr, Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor at Stanford University and chairman of the Packard Fellowship Advisory Panel.

The Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering, established in 1988, is among the nation’s largest nongovernmental programs designed to seek out and reward the pursuit of scientific discovery with “no strings attached” support.

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