Chemical Society Honors UT Dallas Polymer Expert
Oct. 19, 2010
Dr. Dennis Smith, professor and holder of the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry, has been elected by the American Chemical Society (ACS) to the 2010 class of ACS Fellows.
He is the first UT Dallas faculty member to receive the honor.
Smith, nominated in the Division of Polymer Chemistry, is a nationally recognized expert in the field of fluoropolymers. The long name refers to a type of material that is quite familiar to the average consumer.
Made famous by the creation of Teflon in the 1950s, fluoropolymers are used in wire insulation, coatings for fiber-optic cable, military applications, and even to make water-resistant, breathable clothing.
“We study the synthesis and potential use of fluoropolymers in optical applications for telecommunications and optical-integrated circuits and light-emissive materials,” Dr. Smith said. “We are also researching the use of these polymers for power-generating membranes and synthesizing novel fluorinated materials for energy applications.”
Some of Smith’s materials have been tested for use on Space Shuttle missions and in hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. He was recruited to UT Dallas from Clemson University earlier this year.
The ACS Fellows program is in its second year. Chemists from universities, colleges and private research institutions were also recognized in 33 chemistry disciplines.
“I was surprised and very pleased to receive this honor the first time I was nominated,” Smith said. “Although I just arrived at UT Dallas from Clemson University, which deserves a great deal of credit, I think this also says a lot about the growth of the Chemistry Department and the positive trajectory of our school and UT Dallas.”
The award recognizes established contributions to chemistry and honors volunteer work among its members who contribute to their communities and to ACS highlighting positive work within the industry.
Smith’s previous awards include The Dow Chemical Central Research Inventor of the Year Award; the National Science Foundation CAREER Award; the Cottrell Scholar of Research Corporation; ACS Charles H. Stone Outstanding Southeastern Chemist Award; and the 2009 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research in South Carolina.
In addition to his research, Smith also co-founded Tetramer Technologies LLC in 2001 as a faculty start-up company focused on creating marketable products in a variety of polymer areas.