The Michigan Engineer News Center

Sharon Glotzer named next Chemical Engineering chair

Glotzer's academic stature and the impact of her research is reflected in numerous, noteworthy distinctions.| Short Read
EnlargePortrait of Sharon Glotzer
IMAGE:  Sharon Glotzer is the Stuart W Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering

An exceptional educator and soft matter researcher will take the helm of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Professor Sharon C. Glotzer will be the new Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair, effective July 1. The U-M Board of Regents approved the appointment today. Glotzer is also the John W. Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering.

She will be the fifteenth chair of the department, which was founded in 1898. She is succeeding Mark Burns, the T.C. Chang Professor of Engineering, who has served as Chair since 2008.

“I am thrilled and honored to lead one of the very best chemical engineering departments in the nation,” said Glotzer.

Glotzer’s academic stature and the impact of her research is reflected in her numerous, noteworthy distinctions. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Materials Research Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry.  She is U-M’s John Werner Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering. Glotzer also has appointments as a professor in materials science and engineering, physics, applied physics, and macromolecular science and engineering.

Glotzer’s work spans chemical engineering, materials science, soft condensed matter physics, physical chemistry, mathematics, computational science and data science. Her research centers on computational assembly science and engineering studies for predictive materials design of colloidal and soft matter.

Among other notable findings, Glotzer and her group invented the idea of “patchy particles,” a conceptual approach to nanoparticle design. They have shown that entropy can assemble shapes into many structures, which has implications for materials science, thermodynamics, mathematics, and nanotechnology. A recent headline in Quanta Magazine referred to her as a “digital alchemist” who “unravels the mysteries of complexity.”

“Sharon’s significant accomplishments across departmental boundaries represent the excellence and collaboration that are hallmarks of Michigan Engineering,” said Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering. “Her leadership of Chemical Engineering will serve the Department and College well.”

Glotzer has served on several boards and advisory committees of the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Research Council. An accomplished mentor and teacher, Glotzer has created popular courses on computational nanoscience, assembly engineering and soft matter, and has mentored 24 postdoctoral fellows, 54 PhD students, six master’s students and 42 undergraduate students.

Dean Gallimore is also the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor of aerospace engineering.

Portrait of Sharon Glotzer
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Sandy Swisher
Communications & Alumni Relations Coordinator

Chemical Engineering

(734) 764-7413

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  • Sharon Glotzer

    Sharon Glotzer

    Stuart W Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read