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Rothstein Wins Metzner Award

Jonathan Rothstein, a faculty member in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has just been announced as the first recipient of the newly created Arthur B. Metzner Early Career Award, presented by the 1,700-member Society of Rheology, a member society of the American Institute of Physics. This award recognizes a young society member who “has distinguished him/herself in rheological research, rheological practice, or service to rheology.” The Society of Rheology is composed of physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, and mathematicians interested in advancing and applying rheology, which is defined as the science of deformation and flow of matter. The award will consist of a medal and a $7,500 honorarium.  “This is tremendous and a confirmation of the quality faculty we have in engineering!” said Paul Kostecki, vice chancellor for research and engagement at UMass Amherst.”

The Metzner Award follows two major grants for outstanding young researchers earned by Rothstein in recent years. He received a $400,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant and $300,000 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. The CAREER and the Young Investigator awards are among the most prestigious programs in the country for new faculty members. The NSF CAREER program recognizes and supports “the research activities of those teacher-scholars most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.” There were 240 applicants for the Navy Young Investigator Awards, and Rothstein received one of only seven given out.

The NSF funded Rothstein for his pioneering research to characterize the strange and wonderful behavior of “viscoelastic wormlike micelle solutions in strong extensional flow,” or solutions that behave more like fluids in some circumstances, and more like solids in others. His results could have a critical impact on such consumer products as paints, detergents, and pharmaceuticals, and on a wide range of other applications, including agrochemical spraying, inkjet printing, and enhanced oil recovery.

Rothstein’s Navy research deals with turbulent drag reduction using “micro and nanotextured ultrahydrophobic surfaces,” a key area of study that has the potential for creating fuel savings of a quarter to one-third the fuel currently being used by surface vessels. The Navy is interested in Rothstein’s work because it is applicable to drag reduction on ships, submarines, torpedoes, and missiles.

“It is my great pleasure to share with our faculty that Professor Jonathan Rothstein is the inaugural recipient of the Arthur B. Metzner Early Career Award,” said Professor Mario Rotea, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.  “Please join me in congratulating Jonathan for this significant achievement.”  (April 2009)