The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Conner and Polizzi Win Faculty Awards

Chemical Engineering Professor William C. Conner, Jr. has won the 2011 Senior Faculty Award, and Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Eric Polizzi has won the 2011 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. They will both receive their awards at the Senior Recognition Ceremony on May 14, starting at 9:00 a.m. in the Recreation Center. Assistant Professor Marinos Vouvakis of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was previously announced as the winner of the 2011 College Outstanding Teaching Award, and he will also receive his award at the ceremony on May 14.

Dr. Conner received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering (1968) and his Ph.D. in Catalytic Chemistry (1973) from Johns Hopkins University. He recently served as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Alternative Energy Technology at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. The appointment was the most prestigious and selective of all the Fulbright Fellowships. He has more than 150 publications, cited more than 2,000 times. He has been a guest professor in France (three times), Denmark, and Austria, chair of two Gordon Conferences, foreign secretary of the Catalysis Society, and is editor of the Journal of Porous Materials. His studies of the characterization and influence of catalyst morphology first were applied to olefin polymerization catalysts, later to nano-porous catalysts. His energy related research includes the production of biofuels by heterogeneous catalysts. This research also has included microwave enhanced processes during studies of nanoporous catalyst syntheses, initiating the field of microwave reactor engineering. He has also contributed to catalytic kinetic theory.

Dr. Polizzi earned his B.S. (1994) and M.S. (1997) in Physics from the University of Toulouse in France. He earned his Ph.D. (2001) in Applied Mathematics from the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Toulouse. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, Intel, and the Semiconductor Research Corporation. He is the recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to create a new suite of computer simulation methods, which tackles the challenges created by designing, modeling, and testing nano-devices that become more miniaturized every year. His research combines different fundamental modeling strategies. It aims at providing a sound basis to face the challenges in large-scale numerical simulations for applications ranging from material sciences and chemistry to electronics and nanotechnology. The broader impacts of his research have also lead to innovation in numerical parallel algorithms for solving linear systems and eigenvalue problems and the development of the state-of-the-art library packages SPIKE and FEAST. He has previously served as a senior research scientist in Computer Science and a postdoctoral research associate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, and a research and teaching associate in Applied Mathematics at theNational Institute of Applied Sciences in France. (April 2011)