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Liam Harlan is bringing research results to Texans faster.

Liam Harlan, ’19

Major: Chemical Engineering

Liam Harlan wants to use data to fast-track advances in chemical engineering. Because the state of Texas has a first-class research university, this valedictorian didn’t have to leave Texas to get the experience a top researcher needs.

Texas icon highlighting the city of Abilene, Texas.

Because Abilene’s Liam Harlan came to UT after graduating as valedictorian, he is way ahead of most students his age when it comes to scientific research.

In Liam’s first semester on campus, he enrolled in UT’s Freshman Research Initiative, joining a research team investigating how to optimize hydrogen fuel cells. In his second semester, he began an independent study of tungsten, which plays a major role in the microelectronics industry. This in turn led to a summer research fellowship.

One thing led to another, and soon Liam was interfacing with some of the fastest supercomputers on Earth, working — as an undergraduate — at UT’s own Texas Advanced Computing Center. “Getting connected to TACC allowed us to do a lot more.” he says. “TACC can do the work of a year in a week,” Liam says. “It increases efficiency for many researchers.”

Because of that experience, Liam can now see how data processing could have huge effects on the area he’s majoring in, chemical engineering. And that could have enormous effects on the Texas and American economy.

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