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David Mandrus with specimen vial

Mandrus Selected for Prestigious Moore Investigator Award

By David Goddard.

David MandrusJerry and Kay Henry Endowed Professor David Mandrus plays a critical role in the leading edge of research exploring the properties of materials that help shape our world.

Mandrus has been cited many thousands of times over for his part in advancing materials science and has earned several notable accolades.

In recognition of his work, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has named him an Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) Materials Synthesis Investigator, a prestigious honor that comes with $1.7 million in funding over five years.

“I’m honored to have again been selected by the Moore Foundation as someone whose work they have chosen to recognize,” said Mandrus, who holds a joint faculty appointment with ORNL. “Their support will help me further explore ideas and concepts related to quantum materials and the opportunities they make possible.”

The acknowledgment comes as part of the foundation’s EPiQS Initiative, which encourages and supports researchers in their efforts surrounding the synthesis of new quantum materials and the characterization of their properties.

Put very simply, quantum materials have behaviors or properties that make them unique, typically involving exotic magnetism, superconductivity, or the topology of the material’s band structure. By better understanding such properties and learning how to harness and control them, scientists can make improvements across a vast number of fields, especially in electronics and information technology.

“This is a great testament to Dr. Mandrus and his thought leadership and many contributions to the field,” said Dean and Wayne. T. Davis Dean’s Chair Janis Terpenny. “Our sincere thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for their support and recognition.”

Mandrus was previously selected by the foundation for a five-year grant in 2014, meaning he will have been funded for $3.4 million over 10 years, further demonstrating the importance of his work.

Gordon Moore was a pioneering computer expert and co-founder of Intel. He’s most famous in the scientific community for Moore’s Law, which states that the processing power of computers can be expected to double every two years or so.

Mandrus Part of New MURI

Mandrus and colleagues from across the nation were recently awarded a prestigious Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grant (MURI) from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

The MURI entitled, “Novel Light-Matter Interactions in Topologically Non-Trivial Weyl Semimetal Structures and Systems” is being led by The University of Southern California, with Mandrus heading up the efforts at UT. Other partners include Purdue University, University of Central Florida, and Northeastern University.

For the 2020 competition, a total of 26 grants were awarded by the AFOSR, Army Research Office and Office of Naval Research from a total of 365 MURI proposals.