CMU’s Jerry Wang Wins 2020 Frederick Howes Award

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Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor Gerald “Jerry” Wang has been named the 2020 Frederick A. Howes Scholar in Computational Science for his work in nanoscale fluid flows.

Wang, a CMU assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, was selected by a committee of alumni and friends of the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF). The Howes Award annually goes to one or two recent fellowship alumni “in recognition of their research accomplishments and outstanding leadership, integrity and character.”

“Gerald Wang is a computational scientist who not only excels technically but also serves as a role model for others as both a researcher and a human being,” the committee wrote in its citation. “He embodies the qualities Fred Howes promoted in all early career scientists.”

Wang, a fellow from 2014-2018, earned his mechanical engineering doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2019. His thesis focused on the structure of fluids moving through confined spaces, especially in nanotubes thousands of times thinner than a hair. Early computational simulations showed that fluids at small scales form layers near their interfaces with surfaces. Wang used high-performance computers, molecular mechanics and other methods to explain this flow and published the first paper theoretically characterizing this layering effect.

Jerry Wang

“Jerry’s fundamental contributions to understanding the behavior of nanoconfined fluids could have far-reaching impact in the application of nanomaterials to filtration and desalination, carbon sequestration, drug delivery and chemical sensing,” the committee wrote.

Wang also demonstrated leadership and empathy as a member of the student advisory board for his MIT graduate student residence, according to the committee. He helped organize Stick with Me, which spread Post-it Notes carrying words of kindness and encouragement across the MIT campus, the committee said.

Frederick Howes was manager of the DOE Applied Mathematical Sciences Program and an advocate for the fellowship and for computational science. Friends founded the award after his death in 1999 at age 51. The Krell Institute of Ames, Iowa, manages the fellowship and oversees the Howes Award.

Source: Thomas R. O’Donnell