School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Nanotechnology Trio at UT Dallas Named To Prestigious
Scientific American 50 List

Baughman, Zhang, Fang Among Science, Technology Leaders of Past Year

RICHARDSON, Texas (Nov. 6, 2006) – A trio of nanotechnologists from The University of Texas at Dallas has been named to the 2006 Scientific American 50, a prestigious list published annually by the respected magazine that recognizes outstanding contributions in the fields of science and technology during the past year.

Announced today in New York, the Scientific American 50 will appear in the magazine’s December 2006 issue, which is expected at newsstands Nov. 21.

From left: Drs. Mei Zhang, Ray Baughman, and Shaoli Fang
Dr. Ray Baughman (center), director of the NanoTech Institute at UTD, and two
of his colleagues, research scientists Dr. Mei Zhang (left) and Dr. Shaoli Fang,
have been recognized by Scientific American for their contributions
to the development of nanotube yarns and sheets.

Included in the list are Dr. Ray Baughman, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of the NanoTech Institute at UT Dallas, and two of his colleagues, research scientists Dr. Mei Zhang and Dr. Shaoli Fang.  The trio was recognized for their research contributions to the development of nanotube yarns and sheets made of carbon nanotubes, cylinders of carbon molecules with remarkable properties that are over ten-thousand times smaller in width than a human hair. 

“The Scientific American 50 pays tribute to individuals and organizations who, through their efforts in research, business and policy-making, are driving advances in science and technology that lay the groundwork for a better future,” said John Rennie, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.  “Not only does our list honor these prime movers, it shines a spotlight on the critical fields that are benefiting from their achievements.”

“My colleagues and I are greatly honored to be recognized by Scientific American, which has such giant stature in the world of science and technology,” said UT Dallas’ Baughman.  “We are grateful to our many collaborators whose seminal contributions have been so important, especially the associate director of the NanoTech Institute Anvar Zakhidov and our Australian colleague, Dr. Ken Atkinson from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Textile and Fibre Technology.”

Past Scientific American 50 lists have spotlighted visionaries from an array of fields. These include Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; noted stem cell researcher Douglas A. Melton of Harvard University; Nobel laureate and neurobiologist Roderick MacKinnon of Rockefeller University; aviation leader Burt Rutan; global public health leader and former World Health Organization Secretary General Gro Harlem Brundtland; General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt; and high-tech innovator and Apple CEO Steven Jobs.

The Scientific American honor is the latest for scientists at the UT Dallas NanoTech Institute for their breakthroughs in fabricating carbon nanotube yarns and transparent nanotube sheets that promise important industrial applications.  Last June, Baughman and his colleagues shared the prestigious NanoVic Prize and a $10,000 cash prize from Nanotechnology Victoria Ltd., a venture involving three universities and the government of the Australian state of Victoria.  On Nov. 9, the UT Dallas scientists will receive a Nano 50 award, which recognizes the top 50 technologies, products and innovators in the field of nanotechnology, at NASA Tech Briefs’ National Nano Engineering Conference.

The UT Dallas researchers successfully assembled trillions of carbon nanotubes into strong, tough, electronically and thermally conducting nanotube yarns and transparent nanotube sheets and demonstrated their utility for such diverse applications as electronic textiles, protective clothing, artificial muscles, supercapacitors, organic light-emitting displays, solar cells and high-intensity sources of field-emitted electrons for lamps and miniature x-ray tubes. 

The research leading to the awards was funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Texas Advanced Technology and Research Programs, the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation.

Founded in 1845, Scientific American is the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S. Editorial contributors to the magazine have included more than 100 Nobel laureates, including Albert Einstein.  The publication’s website is


News Contact: Steve McGregor, UTD, 972-883-2293

  • Updated: February 10, 2014