Polymer scientist wins prestigious faculty honor
ON THE GREEN | Thomas H. Epps, III, assistant professor of chemical engineering, who has been described as a rising star in the field of polymer science, received the Francis Alison Society’s 2011 Gerard J. Mangone Young Scholars Award.
The award, named in honor of the late Prof. Mangone of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, recognizes promising and accomplished young faculty members. The recipient is chosen by recipients of the Francis Alison Award, the University’s highest faculty honor.
“Thomas has, in a relatively short time, established a world-recognized and highly collaborative research program at UD,” says Norman J. Wagner, Alvin B. and Julia O. Stiles Professor and chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Epps conducts innovative research on ion-conducting polymers as separator membranes for safe, lightweight, flexible and high-density lithium batteries. His multi-faceted research program explores aspects of chemical engineering, chemistry and materials science to generate nanoscale structures in soft (plastic) materials.
This research is crucial to advancing alternative energy generation devices, which often rely on the ability to harness captured energy until it is needed. Such devices require more efficient batteries to store and release this energy.
Epps has published numerous papers that have had a significant impact on polymer science research.
In 2010, he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a distinction presented by President Barack Obama. Epps also has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Award, an Air Force Young Investigator grant and the Lloyd Ferguson Young Scientist Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. He also was co-director of an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at UD focused on energy and sustainability.