Rice University chemist Bruce Weisman has been awarded the Richard E. Smalley Research Award for his decades of nanocarbon research, according to a statement from the university.
The honor is a full circle moment for Wiseman, as the award is named after Weisman's long-time Rice colleague and friend, Rick Smalley, who Wiseman said helped shape his career.
“It changed my career,” Weisman said in a statement from Rice about his work with Smalley. “Everything I’ve done in the last 20 years has been an outgrowth, a consequence of that.”
Still, Weisman has earned many achievements of his own. He joined Rice's faculty in 1979 as a spectroscopist and first began working with Smalley in 1985 after Smalley's groundbreaking discovery of carbon 60, or buckyballs. The discovery proved that carbon could take on other forms and it won Smalley and his teammates the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Weisman and Smalley then collaborated on experiments to measure the electronic spectra of carbon 60 and carbon 70. In the early 2000s, they published two seminal nanotube studies in Science in which Weisman shared his new faster, simpler and cheaper spectrometric method of assaying nanotubes, according to Rice.
In 2004 Weisman founded a company, Applied NanoFluorescence, to commercialize the technology. The company still exists and continues to research the optical properties of carbon nanotubes.
He is also an elected fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the the Electrochemical Society (ECS) and former chair of the ECS Nanocarbons Division. The ECS will present Weisman with the 2024 Smalley Research Award in May. The award is given every two years to recognize “outstanding achievements in, or scientific contributions to, the science of fullerenes, nanotubes and carbon nanostructures.”
Earlier this month, another Rice professor won a highly competitive award. Assistant professor Amanda Marciel, the William Marsh Rice Trustee Chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering, was granted a National Science Foundation's CAREER Award that comes with $670,406 over five years to continue her research in designing branch elastomers.
The grant will also create opportunities in soft matter research for undergraduates and underrepresented scientists. Click here to learn more.
Meanwhile, another Houston-based chemist was also recently recognized for their work. Baylor College of Medicine's Livia Schiavinato Eberlin was named the 2024 recipient of the Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research in December.
The award from the Houston-based Welch Foundation recognizes the accomplishments of chemical scientists in Texas who are early in their careers. Eberlin will be granted $100,000 for this honor.