President Bush to honor Zhang, DesRoches as top researchers at July 12 ceremony

President George W. Bush is to honor and recognize two professors from the Georgia Institute of Technology July 12 as being among the nation's most promising young researchers within their fields.
Assistant Professor Reggie DesRoches, a researcher in Georgia Tech's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Associate Professor John Zhang, a scientist in the Institute's School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, are recipients of the 2001 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
The PECASE awards are the nation's highest honor for professionals working at the outset of their independent research careers. DesRoches and Zhang are to be among 60 scientists from throughout the nation to be honored by President Bush at the White House ceremony Friday.

The annual awards were established in 1996 to honor outstanding scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge and whose work is of greatest benefit to the nominating agency’s mission. Eight participating agencies award these young scientists and engineers with up to five years of funding to further their research in support of critical government missions.
DesRoches earned his PECASE award through the National Science Foundation for his work in earthquake-hazard mitigation. He will receive a $376,000 award, dispersed over five years. DesRoches has worked for Mobil Oil in its offshore engineering group and has research interests that include earthquake engineering, seismic design and analysis of bridges and structural applications of smart materials.
“I am delighted that the quality of Reggie’s scholarship has been recognized with a PECASE award,” said College of Engineering Distinguished Professor Bruce Ellingwood. “The extraordinary quality of our young faculty will ensure a bright future for the school’s teaching and research missions in civil and environmental engineering.”
Professor Roberto Leon, interim head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, added his praise.
“Dr. DesRoches is conducting pioneering research on design of bridges for earthquake loads and the application of advanced materials to the repair and strengthening of structures,” Leon said. “This award is a recognition of the impact and importance of his work.”
Zhang earned his nomination for a PECASE award from Sandia National Laboratory–a U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Defense Programs Laboratory–for his innovations and vital contributions to the development of new tools, materials and applications that advance the science of component microfabrication from materials other than silicon.
These advances enhance the ability of the National Nuclear Security Administration to develop improved components for weapon systems. Zhang will earn a $250,000 grant for the next five years to pursue his work at Georgia Tech.
“It was a distinct and real pleasure for me to learn that John Zhang has been selected for a PECASE award,” said Gary Schuster, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Sciences. “John’s selection for the award recognizes his strong and growing impact in materials chemistry, particularly in the area of nanoparticles. His research has taken our understanding of these unique materials beyond the cutting edge into territory that was unimaginable only a few years ago.”
Contacts:
Associate Professor John Zhang: (404) 894-6368; john.zhang@chemistry.gatech.edu
Assistant Professor Reggie DesRoches: (404) 385-0826, reginald.desroches@ce.gatech.edu

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.