Naomi Halas honored by Royal Society of Chemistry

Rice U. photonics pioneer will receive 2019 Spiers Memorial Award in February

The Royal Society of Chemistry will present Rice University nanoscientist Naomi Halas the 2019 Spiers Memorial Award at the society’s Faraday Discussion meeting in London in February.

Naomi Halas

Naomi Halas (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Halas is Rice’s Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and professor of chemistry, bioengineering, physics and astronomy, and materials science and nanoengineering. She also is director of Rice’s Smalley-Curl Institute.

A pioneer in the study of light-activated nanoparticles and their possible uses, Halas is the first person in the university’s history to be elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering for research done at Rice. Her discoveries have wide-ranging applications in areas as diverse as cancer treatment, optoelectronics, photocatalysis, chemical sensing, solar-powered distillation and steam production, and off-grid water treatment.

The award recognizes Halas’ “pioneering research at the intersection of optics and nanoscience and the demonstration of optical property manipulation by nanoparticle geometry.”

Faraday Discussions are unique international scientific meetings where research papers written by the speakers are distributed to all participants before the meeting, and the bulk of the meeting is devoted to discussing the papers. Everyone contributes, and a record of the discussion is published. For the past 98 years, at least one Faraday Discussion, and frequently more, have been held annually.

Each Faraday Discussion is opened by an introductory lecturer who sets the scene for the discussion, and Spiers Memorial Awards are presented annually to the introductory lecturer or lecturers who are likely to provide the most stimulating and wide-ranging introduction to a discussion. Halas will receive the honor in conjunction with her introductory lecture at the society’s 300th Faraday Discussion, “Hot-electron science and microscopic processes in plasmonics and catalysis,” Feb. 18-20.

Halas is the author of more than 300 refereed publications, and her work has been cited more than 81,000 times. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Materials Research Society, the Optical Society, the American Physical Society, the International Society for Optical Engineering and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Established in 1928, the Spiers Memorial Award commemorates Faraday Society co-founder Frederick Spiers and includes a prize of 2,000 pounds (about $2,565), a medal and a certificate. A full list of 2019 Spiers Memorial Award winners will be published in May.

Founded in 1848, the Royal Society of Chemistry is a 54,000-member not-for-profit professional organization that is working to shape the future of the chemical sciences for the benefit of science and humanity.


About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is editor of Rice News.