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Howard University Assistant Professor Receives Prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award (673 hits)

Pratbiha Dev, Ph.D., an assistant professor of physics within the Howard University College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Physics and Astronomy, was recently awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, a celebrated opportunity for early-career faculty in STEM and STEM-education fields to advance research in their respective fields. The CAREER award is NSF’s most prestigious and competitive award that supports the research and educational activities of exemplary junior faculty.

Since the 2004 discovery of graphene, a two-dimensional (2D) crystal made of carbon atoms, hundreds of other 2D crystals have been discovered. Going beyond this discovery phase, Dev’s project, Understanding the Effects of the Immediate Environment on Intrinsic Properties of 2D Crystals: From Fundamental Science to Real World Applications, focuses on how the immediate environment of 2D-crystals affects their properties.

“In this work, we will study the interfaces between 2D-materials and their environment at the atomistic level, exploring different factors that influence the physical and chemical behavior of the structures,” Dev explains. “In particular, we will study interfacial effects in context of real-life applications of these materials. Hence, this research will benefit not only fundamental science, but also technologies of importance to society such as relativistic electronics, quantum computing, and highly sensitive sensors.”

This project is being supported by the NSF via the Condensed Matter and Materials Theory (CMMT) program within the Division of Materials Research (DMR). Dev serves as the principal investigator and will conduct research for the project alongside a postdoctoral researcher and students from Howard University. They’ll use state-of-the-art computational methods to research unexplored phenomena surrounding the impact of the environment on 2D materials.

“Professor Dev is conducting research at the frontiers of technology with her work on exotic 2D materials,” says Quinton Williams, professor of physics and chair of the Howard University Department of Physics. “The important implications of her research are fully acknowledged by her receiving a highly competitive NSF CAREER Award. Howard University students benefit tremendously when working on cutting-edge research with faculty members of Dr. Dev’s caliber.”

The CAREER award also supports the University’s initiative to promote education in STEM fields among students from underrepresented groups. Through her research, Dev will train and mentor a new generation of scientists in Condensed Matter Physics and Quantum Chemistry, along with developing a course on the art of effectively and efficiently communicating science to a wide range of audiences. Further, through the support of the CAREER grant,Dev seeks to establish a public lecture series at Howard University, cultivating the scientific culture in the community.

“The college is excited to have Dr. Dev be among the 2018 NSF Career awardees. Her research is interdisciplinary and will expose graduate students to areas of physics, chemistry, and materials science.,” says Kim Michelle Lewis, Ph.D., associate dean for research, graduate programs and natural sciences within the College of Arts and Sciences. “The NSF Career award is only the beginning of Dr. Dev’s career at Howard University. She is an exemplary role-model for women in physics and the college will continue to support her endeavors to pursue competitive research.”

According to a news release posted to the National Science Foundation’s website, the NSF CAREEER Award is part of the organization’s Faculty Early Career Development program, which allows promising junior faculty to actively conduct research while simultaneously advancing excellence in education. Data taken by NSF shows more than 20 percent of this year’s awardees are women and nearly 8 percent are from underrepresented groups. The organization highlights both percentages as being higher than national averages for engineering and computer science faculty.

“The scholarship by Professor Dev epitomizes what is best about higher education in the United States,” says Bruce Jones, Ph.D., Vice President for Research. “True to Howard’s mission, Professor Dev is conducting groundbreaking research that involves our students and faculty in a way that connects research to practice with policy implications.”


Photograph above:Inside the Interdisciplinary Building, Pratbiha Dev, Ph.D., points to work associated with Understanding the Effects of the Immediate Environment on Intrinsic Properties of 2D Crystals: From Fundamental Science to Real World Applications

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 70 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University visit www.howard.edu

Written by Ramzey Smith
Media contact: Ramzey Smith, Ramzey.smith@howard.edu

Posted By: Elly Moss
Thursday, September 20th 2018 at 2:29PM
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