Researchers to Receive O’Donnell Awards from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas

O'Donnell Awards

Two faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin will receive Edith and Peter O'Donnell Awards from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST) at its annual conference in January.  

TAMEST is the state’s premier scientific organization. The O'Donnell Awards were established to recognize and promote outstanding scientific achievements of the state's most promising researchers.

Delia Milliron, professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, will receive the 2018 O’Donnell Award in Engineering. Xiaoqin Elaine Li, professor in the Department of Physics, will receive the 2018 O’Donnell Award in Science.

Delia Milliron

Dr. Milliron has advanced technology that could revolutionize how windows are used in modern architecture. She has developed a new material that, when applied to windows with a thin coating, can dynamically control the amount of infrared light (and the heat that comes with it) that passes through. This “smart window” technology allows visual interaction with the outdoors without having too much – or not enough – heat from the sun, which could result in significantly reduced energy consumption.

“Dr. Milliron has a very deep understanding of chemistry and physics,” says Thomas M. Truskett, Ph.D., chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering in UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. “She knows how to identify the great problems we face and the societal needs that have to be addressed.”

Xiaoqin Elaine Li

Dr. Li ‘s research focuses on the interaction of light and matter at the nanoscale in quantum materials. Her innovative work has helped create and control materials that can emit one photon at a time. The creation and manipulation of these materials could open the door to major advances in energy, communications and computing.

“Dr. Li’s research makes a number of things potentially possible, one being completely secure communications,” says Jack L. Ritchie, Ph.D., department chair and professor in the Department of Physics in UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences. “She is doing the kind of foundational research that could lead to new types of improved solar cells and perhaps ultimately build new types of computers.”

TAMEST will present the awards Jan. 11 during its annual conference in League City, Texas. The awards were named in honor of Edith and Peter O'Donnell for their support of TAMEST. It includes a $25,000 honorarium, a citation and an inscribed statue.

Read more about the 2018 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards recipients.