Prof. Robert Baker Named Deputy Director of the Institute for Optical Science

Congratulations to Prof. Robert Baker on his appointment as Deputy Director of the Institute of Optical Science.

Robert has been a member of iOS since its inception in 2018 and is co-Director of the NSF NeXUS facility. Robert’s research interest utilizes ultrafast optical-XUV spectroscopy to study surface electron dynamics and interfacial charge transfer in order to control catalytic energy conversion processes.>

Robert joined the faculty at OSU in 2014. He received his B.S. from Brigham Young University. In 2012, he completed his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in the group of Prof. Gabor Somorjai. He remained at Berkeley as a post-doctoral research associate in the group of Prof. Stephen Leone. At OSU, he has been awarded funding from the NSF, DOE and AFOSR. His distinctions include a DOE Early Career award an AFOSR Young Investigator award and the Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar award.

Visit the iOS website for webinar schedules and news items.

Baker Wins 2021 Emerging Leader in Atomic Spectroscopy Award

Spectroscopy has named Robert Baker, associate professor at The Ohio State University, the winner of the 2021 Emerging Leader in Atomic Spectroscopy Award. Awarded annually since 2017, it recognizes the achievements and aspirations of a talented young atomic spectroscopist, selected by an independent scientific committee.

“Robert Baker is a brilliant young scientist and embodies the values and qualities we look for when selecting the Emerging Leader in Atomic Spectroscopy Award winner,” said Mike Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of MJH Life Sciences, parent company of Spectroscopy®. “His extensive background in the fields of physical chemistry, surface science, catalysis and spectroscopy make him truly deserving of this noteworthy award.”

The award will be presented to Baker on Feb. 24 at the Spectroscopy® Virtual Symposium, ‘Atomic Spectroscopy in Practice,’ where he will give a plenary lecture.

Read the full press release here.

Center for Emergent Materials awarded $18 Million NSF Grant to Support High-Impact, Cutting-Edge Science

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that the Center for Emergent Materials (CEM) at The Ohio State University has been awarded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) funding for the third time since 2008. This $18 million, six-year grant will fund transformative science and complex materials discovery by two multidisciplinary, collaborative groups of researchers and includes funding to help ease entry into science from underrepresented groups.

“We are excited to have won this highly prized funding because it enables scientists to undertake complex and transformative projects at the scientific frontiers, and provides sustained support for diverse teams to collaboratively synthesize new understanding and open new research topics,” said P. Chris Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar, physics professor and director of the Center for Emergent Materials.

After an intense and highly competitive process, 11 MRSECs were funded for this cycle, bringing the nationwide total to 19. A flagship initiative for NSF, the MRSEC program funds research at the cutting-edge of scientific discovery by enabling teams of researchers to tackle scientific problems that are too large and complex for one person or one group to make an impact. These teams, called Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs), are made up of a diverse group of faculty, their students and postdoctoral researchers.

This funding will allow CEM to continue its history of excellence with two new IRGs, which aim to develop materials that grant improved control over magnetic properties, generating new paradigms in computing and information storage.

IRG-1: Creation and Control of Metal/Magnetic-Insulator Interfaces is co-led by Jinwoo Hwang, associate professor of materials science engineering, and Fengyuan Yang, professor of physics. This group will focus on magnetic interactions at interfaces between metals and magnets. The team includes faculty in the fields of chemistry and biochemistry, materials science engineering and physics at Ohio State and Carnegie Mellon University.

IRG-2: Topology and Fractionalization in Magnetic Materials is co-led by Joseph Heremans, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and physics, and Yuan-Ming Lu, associate professor of physics. Group members will focus on control of configurations and interrelationships between magnetic interactions that protect magnetic states against omnipresent disruptive forces. The team is made up of faculty in chemistry and biochemistry, materials science engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering and physics at Ohio State and Colorado State University.

“An important benefit of this funding is its support for a seed program that nurtures new science and prepares young scientists to be leaders,” explained Hammel. “For example, IRG-1 grew out of a project initiated by Prof. Jinwoo Hwang with seed funding support.”

Both of the IRGs were nucleated in the Ohio State’s Materials Research Seed Grant Program, an enterprising Ohio State program run by the CEM, the Center for Exploration of Novel Complex Materials (ENCOMM), and the Institute for Materials Research (IMR) that supports new developments in materials research.

A robust education, human resources and development (EHRD) program aimed at increasing scientific literacy and diversity from elementary school students through the faculty ranks rounds out the new initiatives this award will enable. CEM will continue to provide mentorship for high-needs K-12 students through outreach and tutoring programs. The externally funded Masters-to-Ph.D. minority Bridge Program, which increases the pool of faculty candidates from underrepresented backgrounds continues to be essential to CEM’s EHRD efforts.

“Center faculty and current bridge students are vital participants that provide research and academic mentorship and support to incoming bridge students,” said Michelle McCombs, CEM’s outreach and inclusion director. “Connecting new students to a network of Bridge peers eases the transition to graduate school life and provides a direct link to older students who are invaluable sources of advice.”

Additionally, CEM’s new Diversity Action Plan, founded on proven strategies employing concrete, measureable steps, is focused on improving faculty and post-secondary diversity.

“Through implementation of the additional strategies, we will have the opportunity to further expand prior efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion of the CEM in more meaningful and sustainable ways,” said La’Tonia Stiner-Jones, assistant dean of graduate programs in graduate education, assistant professor of practice in biomedical engineering and CEM’s senior advisor for diversity and inclusion.

Two CEM Faculty Receive Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

Prof. Jessica Winter, CEM’s Associate Director and member of IRG-2, and Prof. Rolando Valdes Aguilar, an IRG-1 faculty member and CEM’s Summer REU Director, received the 2020 Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award from Ohio State’s Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry. This award was created to honor individuals who have demonstrated success in mentoring undergraduates in their research and/or creative inquiry endeavors.

Created only a couple of years ago, the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award relies on nominations from undergraduate students at any Ohio Sate campus. Prof. Winter was nominated for the award by Thomas Porter and Prof. Valdes Aguilar was nominated for the award by Elijah Kritzell. More information about these awards can be found on the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Physics websites.