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WSU Physicist Wang Receives Germany’s Humboldt Research Award

PULLMAN, Wash. - Nanoscientist Lai-Sheng Wang, professor of physics and materials science at Washington State University Tri-Cities and affiliate chief scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists.

The 60,000 Euro award, which is one of the top awards given by Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, recognizes Wang's "past accomplishments in research and teaching."

Wang is a world leader in nanoclusters research. For example, he and his colleagues created hollow nanoscale cages of gold atoms, the first known metallic equivalent of the famous carbon fullerene or "buckyball." In addition, he pioneered the study of multiply charged negative ions and initiated the study of solution molecules in the gas phase. His team also created the first all-metal aromatic molecules and discovered unexpected properties of extremely small particles of boron.

During his 16 years in research, his numerous publications have been frequently featured in top journals, including Science and Nature. He is active in professional societies, including the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Materials Research Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2003, he was named a fellow of the American Physical Society.

His work has been recognized with several other important awards, including the Guggenheim fellowship, the Washington State University distinguished faculty award, the National Science Foundation creativity award, and the Alfred P. Sloan research fellowship.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation presents up to 100 of these awards annually to encourage international research collaborations and to promote a worldwide network of scholars. The awards include an invitation for the recipients to conduct research projects of their choice in Germany for up to a year.

"My primary goal will be to collaborate with Professor Manfred Kappes from Universitat Karlsruhe, which has just been ranked as one of the top three universities in Germany," said Wang. "Our research topics will involve investigations of the structures and chemical properties of nanoclusters, fullerenes and multiply charged anions. I also plan to collaborate with other scientists from several universities in Berlin on topics related to cluster structures, reactivities and dynamics. I will likely use my award for multiple short visits.

"I am very grateful for the award since it will allow me to engage in more extensive research collaborations with German colleagues and to learn more about German culture."

Wang joined WSU and PNNL in 1993 and carries out his research at the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL. Located in Richland, Wash., PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy.

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