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ASU engineer's research honored by international materials science society

Above: Ira A. Fulton Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Nik Chawla was recently awarded the Acta Materialia Silver Medal for 2018, recognizing his research and leadership in the field of materials science.

Above: Ira A. Fulton Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Nik Chawla was recently awarded the Acta Materialia Silver Medal for 2018, recognizing his research and leadership in the field of materials science. The award is granted to members of academia, industry or government by one of the top materials science journals, Acta Materialia, published by Elsevier. Chawla will be presented the award at the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society Spring Meeting in March 2018. Photographer: Jessica Hochreiter/ASU

October 04, 2017

For the past 20 years, Nik Chawla, an Arizona State University professor of materials science and engineering, has been advancing research in his field on every level. Since joining Arizona State University in 2000, his ongoing dedication to materials science has earned him myriad honors, appointments and awards.

Most recently, Chawla was awarded the 2018 Acta Materialia Silver Medal, which recognizes “scientific contributions and leadership from academic, industry and public sector leaders in the midst of their careers.”

The award, granted by materials science journal Acta Materialia, includes a silver medal, an inscribed certificate and an honorarium of $5,000. Acta Materialia is the premier journal in materials science and is published by Elsevier, one of the leading providers of scientific, technical and medical information.

“It is very rewarding to be given this award from Acta Materialia. Over the years, we have published our best work in the journal,” said Chawla, a faculty member in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “The most satisfying part is that this award is a reflection of the wonderful work done by my students, collaborators and colleagues over the last 20 years.”

The award will be presented to Chawla during The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society Spring Meeting, slated to be held in Phoenix, March 11–15, 2018.

"Recognition from Acta Materialia not only highlights the groundbreaking work Nik is known for, but speaks to the excellence of our materials science and engineering program,” said Professor Lenore Dai, director of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy. 

While many awards celebrate new faces or the achievements of seasoned researchers, the Silver Medal specifically acknowledges timely, important work from scientists in the middle of their careers.

Chawla, a leading figure in materials science, is an expert in deformation behavior of advanced materials at bulk and small length scales. In early 2017, he launched a new research center at ASU, called the Center for 4D Materials Science, or 4DMS.

Chawla established 4DMS as a collaboration between academia, industry and government to explore material science with multiscale modeling and characterization of materials under different stimuli. To this end, ASU, Zeiss and the Office of Naval Research joined together to fund and support 4DMS, which boasts state-of-the-art equipment and capabilities, including x-ray microtomography that can achieve resolution of less than one micrometer and focused ion beam microscopy with resolution at the nanometer scale.

“Our work in the 4D area has been quite timely because, for the first time, we can visualize, study and quantify the changes in structure in a material in real-time,” Chawla said. “This capability, which is really the theme of 4DMS, has allowed us the tools to probe and answer seminal questions in materials science.”

The award joins an extensive list of distinctions and honors earned by Chawla, including the 2013 Brimacombe Medalist Award, 2011 Distinguished Lectureship from China’s Tsinghua University, the 2009 Raymond Award for Best Paper by the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, and the 2004 Bradley Stoughton Award for Young Teachers from ASM International. In 2016, he received the Structural Materials Division Distinguished Scientist/Engineering Award and the Functional Materials Division Distinguished Scientist/Engineering Award, both from the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society, as well as the New Mexico Tech Distinguished Alumnus Award the same year. In addition, Chawla is an editor on Materials Science and Engineering: A journal, published by Elsevier, and serves on the editorial boards of the Advanced Engineering Materials journal, Materials Characterization journal and Materials Chemistry and Physics journal. He is also an ASM fellow and previously served on the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society’s Board of Directors.

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