IUPUI’s Bogdan Nica and Hosop Shin and IU Bloomington’s Walter Pettus have been selected as 2022 recipients of the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards Program. An honor bestowed by the Oak Ridge Associate Universities, this competitive research award provides seed money to junior faculty members that often results in additional funding from other sources.
“We are thrilled that Oak Ridge Associate Universities has recognized three incredible IU researchers with this prestigious award, which is designed to recognize the talent and potential of junior faculty at institutions across the United States,” said Janice Blum, vice chancellor for research and graduate education at IUPUI. “This is really a notable achievement, and this year marks the first time more than one IUPUI faculty member has been selected in the same year.”
Nica is an assistant professor of mathematical sciences in the School of Science. An IUPUI faculty member since 2020, he has broad research interests in analysis, geometry and algebra. His successful proposal is concerned with analytic aspects of certain geometric groups.
“I am honored to be a recipient of the Ralph E. Powe award,” Nica said. “My impression is that, over the last few years, only 20 to 25 percent of the proposals received the award. This means that it is a fairly competitive award with the success rate being comparable to that of the NSF grants.”
Shin, an assistant professor in the department of mechanical and energy engineering in the School of Engineering and Technology, is specialized in the design and characterization of energy storage materials and systems using novel experimental tools combined with computational methods. His current research focuses on developing Li-ion battery recycling technologies, in-operando characterization tools and solid-state battery models.
“This award will help me establish a successful research program at IUPUI by providing seed funding that supports my early-stage research on electrochemical-based Li-ion battery recycling,” Shin said. “This research addresses an urgent need to identify new ways to manage hazardous, albeit valuable, large volumes of end-of-life Li-ion batteries from electric vehicles. Battery recycling is the key to meeting electric car demand in the future.”
Pettus is an assistant professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences whose research focuses on understanding the mystery of neutrino mass – the discovery of which led to the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. The neutrino remains the only fundamental particle whose mass is unmeasured, and it serves as an intersectional probe of nuclear, particle and asto-physics. To pursue this work, Pettus contributes to several international collaborative experiments.
“This award provides a tremendous opportunity for my involvement in LEGEND, a next-generation experiment for neutrinoless double beta decay,” Pettus said. “It provides funding to develop a novel contribution to this international project, which, if successful, can be more widely implemented using the facilities at IU’s Center for Exploration of Energy and Matter. The project will drive collaboration with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which serves as the lead U.S. institution on the experiment.”