Harmer Receives Prestigious International Research Award; Germany's Humboldt Research Award to Extend Lehigh's Research Network in Nanotechnology
The international honor, one of the most prestigious given by Germany, recognizes Harmer's lifetime research achievements in materials science and engineering.
“But it is when these facilities support adjacent research interests - the search for more effective methods to target drugs directly at tumors, the efforts to remove harmful pollutants from ground water - that the possibilities and significance of nanoscale engineering really take shape.”
Harmer, a professor of materials science and engineering at Lehigh, is world-renowned for his studies of the properties of structural and electronic ceramic materials and their control at the micro- and nanoscale. He is particularly interested in developing novel transparent materials and nanomaterials with multi-functional properties. Currently, he is studying the sintering behavior of nanoparticles of gold and iron oxide, and the mechanism of the conversion of polycrystalline alumina into single crystal sapphire for lighting applications.
As director of Lehigh's CAMN, Harmer leads a variety of projects. In one, a multi-disciplinary team of Lehigh researchers is working with peers from Harvard, Rice, Georgia Tech, UCLA and the Illinois Institute of Technology to study the economic and environmental impact of nanotechnology. The project is supported by a five-year, $1.7- million grant from the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center of the National Science Foundation.
"The real power of nano is evident when it supports discovery and innovation in other areas - areas such as medicine, computing, materials, and environmental engineering," says Harmer.
Lehigh has one of the top electron microscopy centers in the U.S., Harmer notes, and has for more than 30 years hosted the world's foremost annual microscopy short courses.
"Our facilities provide us with unmatched capability in nanocharacterization, " he says. "But it is when these facilities support adjacent research interests - the search for more effective methods to target drugs directly at tumors, the efforts to remove harmful pollutants from ground water - that the possibilities and significance of nanoscale engineering really take shape."
The Humboldt Award, which is worth about $60,000, will fund Harmer's research into the basic science of novel heat treatment (sintering) processes for growing new types of single crystal and multilayer ceramic materials with enhanced performance characteristics for applications such as laser lighting, medical ultrasound imaging and more efficient diesel engines.
The Humboldt Research Award for senior scientists is presented each year to a maximum of 100 top international researchers in engineering, humanities and the natural and physical sciences. It enables foreign academics to conduct research at German research institutions with researchers from Germany and from the rest of the world. Recipients are nominated by leading German scholars and have five years to use the award.
Harmer, a fellow of the American Ceramic Society and a member of the European Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Sc. D. from Leeds University (England) in recognition of lifetime contributions to science. He has published more than 200 articles and has been cited more than 2,000 times in articles by other researchers. In 2002, he was named a "Highly Cited Researcher" by the Institute for Scientific Information.
About Lehigh University
For 141 years, Lehigh University (www.lehigh.edu) has combined outstanding learning opportunities with leadership in innovative research. Lehigh is among the nation's most selective, highly ranked private research universities. Its four colleges -Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Education and the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science - provide opportunities to 6,500 students to discover and grow in a learning community that promotes interdisciplinary programs with real-world experience. Lehigh is located in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, Pa., about 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 75 miles west of New York City.