Bush honors UCI's Jia Lu with early career award

05/04/04

Known for her research in Nanotechnology, Lu among 57 scientists and engineers to receive presidential award

Irvine, Calif., May 4, 2004 -- Jia G. Lu, assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science as well as electrical engineering and computer science, was honored today by President George Bush with a 2002 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Lu was among 57 recipients of the award, which was established in 1996 and is the nation's highest honor for scientists and engineers at the outset of their independent research careers. Lu has advanced the frontiers of knowledge in spin electronics, considered to be the defining concept of 21st century electronics, by her work on ultrafast nonvolatile electronics. Her work combines concepts in faster, more reliable electronics with nanotechnology. She transfers her research knowledge through education programs emphasizing outreach to underrepresented groups and by involving graduate, undergraduate and high school students in the developing fields of physics, materials science and nanoscience.

In her research, Lu attempts to understand the science in nanofabricated structures by probing the quantum states and dynamics of charges and spins. She tests various theoretically predicted phenomena such as single-electron charging effect, enhanced magnetoresistance, conductance oscillation and spin diffusion.

"Congratulations to Jia on her award," said Stanley Grant, chair of the department of chemical engineering and materials science. "Her work in nanotechnology will help produce atomic-scale electrical components with applications that could benefit the electronics industry."

Lu received her master's degree and doctorate in applied physics from Harvard University in 1993 and 1997, respectively. Her research involves the study of the electrical properties of one-dimensional nanostructures, which are of both fundamental and technological interest. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award, 2002-2007, and a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1997-1998. She was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow from 1992 to 1995.

John H. Marburger III, science adviser to the president and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, presented the awards at a White House ceremony to 20 National Science Foundation-supported researchers and 37 other scientists and engineers representing programs sponsored by eight other federal departments and agencies.

NSF's nominees for these presidential awards are drawn from junior faculty members who have received grants from NSF's Faculty Early Career Development program, which confers the agency's most important and prestigious awards for new faculty members who show promise as leaders in science and engineering. These scientists have also translated their work into significant education activities. Nearly 400 young faculty members are chosen each year for the CAREER awards, which range from $300,000 to more than $750,000 over five years. The awards support the work and foster growth opportunities of those most likely to become academic leaders.

NSF honorees under PECASE receive no additional money beyond their initial CAREER grants, but the presidential recognition carries significant prestige as recipients represent the best among young researchers and educators from the CAREER program.

Other agencies that participate in the PECASE program include NASA, Departments of Health and Human Services (National Institutes of Health), Veterans Affairs, Defense, Energy, Agriculture and Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Institute of Standards and Technology).

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with approximately 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,300 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.

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