06.27.11

They Have Chemistry

DOE researchers among those recognized as world's most distinguished.

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Novella Bridges of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Photo courtesy of PNNL

Novella Bridges of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

"'Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose,'" said Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) project manager Novella Bridges, quoting pre-eminent African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston.

Dr. Bridges has become a renowned researcher in her own right. She is one of three female Department of Energy (DOE) scientists recognized as Distinguished Women in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering by the 2011 International Year in Chemistry Project. Only 23 women from around the world were so named, and 3 of the 4 U.S. honorees came from DOE labs: Dr. Bridges from PNNL; Joanna S. Fowler from Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL); and Nancy B. Jackson of Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). The other, Susan M. Kauzlarich, works at the University of California – Davis.

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Joanna S. Fowler of Brookhaven National Laboratory Photo courtesy of BNL

Joanna S. Fowler of Brookhaven National Laboratory

All four are known for not only 'poking and prying with a purpose' but also for producing lasting results. For instance, Dr. Bridges has worked to reduce diesel emissions and develop better cancer treatments. "My love of science has truly afforded me the ability to explore its depth and range," said Dr. Bridges. "As an African American woman, science has opened me to a world that is limitless and has no restrictions." She's determined to open that world for others, and is deeply involved with organizations that do so, such as the Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science.

Another Distinguished Woman Chemist, Brookhaven's Dr. Joanna S. Fowler is a senior chemist focusing on medical imaging, including studies of the brain and its chemical activity in people with addictive disorders. Over the course of her career, Dr. Fowler has shed light on why substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine and nicotine are so addictive. She's also contributed to the development of agents that aid in the study and diagnosis of neurological diseases and cancer.

Dr. Fowler has won many awards over the course of her career, including the National Medal of Science for her important contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge. "I am honored to receive this award, particularly since it recognizes the central role that chemistry plays in health and well-being," Fowler said. "I am also grateful to my colleagues for their stimulation and support, and to the Department of Energy and Brookhaven National Laboratory for their stewardship of our research, which is at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine."

Nancy B. Jackson of Sandia National Laboratories

Photo courtesy of SNL

Nancy B. Jackson of Sandia National Laboratories

Nancy B. Jackson of Sandia National Laboratories and Susan M. Kauzlarich of University of California – Davis share an interest in materials science. Dr. Jackson, currently President of the American Chemical Society, is an expert studying the specialized substances that speed chemical reactions known as catalysts. She is working to develop catalysts that will enable the production of fuels from alternative resources like natural gas and biomass.

Susan M. Kauzlarich of University of California - Davis

Photo courtesy of UC - Davis

Susan M. Kauzlarich of University of California - Davis

At University of California Davis, Dr. Kauzlarich works to discover new materials with novel structures and properties to be used for various green energy applications, such as converting solar energy to electricity. In addition to her being recognized for her outstanding research, Dr. Kauzlarich has also received a number of awards for mentoring, including the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Dedicated to poking and prying with a purpose, these four Distinguished Women Chemists have done our Nation proud.

For more information about the Distinguished Woman Chemists, please go to: http://www.chemistry2011.org/participate/activities/show?id=1156External link. And for more information about the Office of Science and research at its funded laboratories, visit www.science.energy.gov.

This article was written by Abigail Pillitteri and Charles Rousseaux, a writer and Senior Writer for the Office of Science.

Last modified: 3/15/2013 5:23:53 PM