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Bevan receives NSF CAREER award

April 16, 2004

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Dr. Michael Bevan, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award for his research on nanotechnology. The $400,000 grant will continue through 2009. The NSF CAREER award is the most prestigious award for new faculty members for their career-development and teaching activities, highlighting them as upcoming academic leaders in the 21st century. Bevan's research is in the area of nanotechnology, which is the science of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale. He will measure the interactions of colloids, which are tiny building blocks measured in nanometers. By using things such as electrical fields and optical tweezers, Bevan can force the colloids to assemble into crystals. With this directed assembly, Bevan is able to manipulate the structure of the crystals, allowing him to research their reactions with different substances. Colloids are found in many substances such as protein and latex paint, Bevan said. Thus, understanding colloids' behavior has a wide range of research applications. Because crystals interact with light, colloid-based crystals can be used to build optical sensors and possibly help develop computers that can run on light. Awardees must include plans for teaching as well as research in their application for a CAREER grant. Bevan plans to integrate his research into courses by using 3-D movies and simulation animations that students will create. He said he feels this will aid students by allowing them to develop the "right picture in their heads" about concepts such as Brownian motion, which affects particles suspended in water. "I believe this component allows me to have synergy with my role as an educator and a researcher," he said. Bevan joined the Department of Chemical Engineering in August 2002. He received Bachelor of Science degrees, in chemical engineering and in chemistry, in 1994 from Lehigh University and earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1999.

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