The George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research

The George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research was established by Penn Engineering for the purpose of recognizing excellence in scholarly activities of the faculty. Named in honor of George H. Heilmeier, it recognizes his extraordinary research career, his leadership in technical innovation and public service, and his loyal and steadfast support of Penn Engineering.

George Pappas2016 Heilmeier Award and Lecture

Shu Yang
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

"Patterning Topological Defects for Responsive and Foldable Materials"

Wednesday, February 17, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.
Wu and Chen Auditorium, Levine Hall

More than half a century after George Heilmeier’s discovery of several electro-optic effects in liquid crystals, they have become the basis of a $100B per year industry. Ubiquitous as they are in our daily lives, however, it sometimes escapes our attention that liquid crystals are the original nanomaterial with anisotropic properties. More recently, the materials community has created a dizzying array of nanoparticles with varying size, shape, chemistry, and surface functionality. In my talk, I will show how we have brought together these two worlds by patterning surface topographies, topologies, and chemistries to guide the molecular alignment of liquid crystals on surfaces and interfaces. In turn, these surface cues create and control topological defects that allow trapping, transportation, and actuation of nanoparticles, leading to a much richer library of assembled structures than those in an isotropic medium. Further, we demonstrate precisely pre-programmed folding of a 2D liquid crystal elastomer sheet into 3D.

Shu Yang is a Professor in the Departments of Materials Science & Engineering, and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at University of Pennsylvania (Penn). She also the Director of Center for Analyzing Evolved Structures as Optimized Products (AESOP): Science and Engineering for the Human Habitat at Penn. Her group is interested in synthesis, fabrication, and assembly of polymers, liquid crystals, and colloids of controlled size, shape, and geometry, and their dynamic tuning in response to external stimuli for unique optical, mechanical and surface/interface properties. Yang received her BS degree from Fudan University, China in 1992, and Ph. D. degree from Chemistry and Chemical Biology while researching in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University in 1999. She worked at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies as a Member of Technical Staff before joing Penn in 2004. She received 2015-16 George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research at Penn Engineering. She is elected as Fellow of National Academy of Inventors (2014) and TR100 as one of the world’s top 100 young innovators under age of 35 by MIT's Technology Review (2004). She was a recipient of ICI (1999) and Unilever (2001) student awards from American Chemical Society (ACS) for outstanding research in polymer science and engineering. She also served as Materials Research Society 2010 Fall meeting co-chair.

Past Awardees Include:

2015-16: Shu Yang- For "pioneering the synthesis and fabrication of responsive nano- and micro-structured soft materials." Learn more...

2014-15: George Pappas- For "fundamental contributions to embedded, hybrid and networked control systems." Learn more...

2013-14: John M. Vohs - "Nano-Structured Catalysts for Chemical Transformations" Learn more...

2012-13: Vijay Kumar - For "pioneering contributions to the science and technology of cooperative robotics." Learn more...

2011-12: Karen I. Winey - "For innovative methods in the fabrication and processing of polymer-based nanotube composites" Learn more...

2010-11: Christopher S. Chen - "For fundamental contributions in the study and design of cellular microenvironments" Learn more...

2009-10: Rajeev Alur – "For fundamental contributions in software verification for real-time systems" Learn more...

2008-09: Scott Diamond – "Discoveries and innovations in high throughput screening and micro-array technology"

2007-08: Nader Engheta – "Research contributions on nano-optics and related metamaterials"

2006-07: Pedro Ponte-Castañeda - "Homogenization theory for estimating effective mechanical behavior of nonlinear, heterogeneous materials"

2005-06: Dawn A. Bonnell - For significant contributions in "Nanolithography and nanostructure assembly"

2004-05: Michael Kearns - "New algorithmic ideas in game theory and machine learning"

2003-04:  Dennis E. Discher and Daniel A. Hammer - "Polymersomes, discovery and characterization"

2002-03:  David E. Luzzi - "Carbon nanotubes and 'peapods'"

2001-02:  Raymond J. Gorte - "Solid oxide fuel cells"

George H. Heilmeier, EE'58

Dr. George H. HeilmeierDr. George H. Heilmeier was Chairman Emeritus of Telcordia Technologies, formerly Bellcore, a leading provider of communications software and professional services. Prior to his retirement in November 1997, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Texas Instruments, Inc., Director of DARPA and Head of Solid State Device Research at RCA. Dr. Heilmeier received international recognition for his discovery of several new electro-optic effects in liquid crystals leading to the development of the first liquid crystal displays for watches, calculators, and instrumentation, and he held 15 patents.

Dr. Heilmeier received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1958 and M.A., M.S.E., and Ph.D. degrees in solid-state electronics from Princeton University. He is known for his operational, technical and strategic leadership in transforming new technologies into market driven successes. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Heilmeier received numerous awards, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Founders Medal, the National Academy of Engineering's highest honor the Founders Award, the Japan Prize in Computers and Communications, the Industrial Research Institute Medal, and the National Medal of Science, among others. In 2002, he received the Pioneer of Stealth Award for "Visionary Leadership and Trailblazing Contributions of Enduring National Significance in the Development of Low Observable Aircraft."

Dr. Heilmeier served as a White House Fellow, and was a Life Fellow of the IEEE and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a member of the Defense Science Board, and the National Security Agency Advisory Board. He served on the Boards of Directors of TRW, the MITRE Corporation, INET Technologies Inc., Teletech Holdings, and Automatic Data Processing (ADP) Corporation. He was also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Chairman of the General Motors Technology Advisory Board. Dr. Heilmeier's leadership in telecommunications and technology management was also recognized through honorary doctorate degrees from Stevens Institute and the Israeli Institute of Technology (the Technion).

Dr. Heilmeier passed away on April 22, 2014.