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Texas A&M University chemist Sarbajit Banerjee (left), accepting the 2016 Beilby Medal and Prize from Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining President Mike Hicks. (Credit: (IOM3.)

COLLEGE STATION --

Sarbajit Banerjee, professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been awarded the 2016 Beilby Medal and Prize in recognition of his early career accomplishment in novel materials design and application.

The prestigious award, presented to Banerjee in London last week, is jointly conferred once every three years by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) in recogition of significant contributions to chemical engineering, applied materials science or energy efficiency by a researcher under 40 years of age. The medal is a memorial to Sir George Thomas Beilby, who served as president of all three bodies. Founded after his death in 1924, it was first awarded in 1930.

Banerjee, 37, joined the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry faculty in 2014 and is also an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Previously in November, he also received the Rosenhain Medal and Prize recognizing distinguished achievement in materials science -- the highest young researcher award presented by IOM3 as the premier global network for professionals in materials science.

"I am so pleased that Sarbajit has received the Beilby Medal and Prize," said Dr. Simon W. North, professor and interim head of Texas A&M Chemistry. "His work reflects a perfect balance of fundamental science and real-world applications. This recognition is well-deserved and a testament to his significant impact on the field of materials science."

After earning his doctorate at State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2004 and completing a postdoctoral stint at Columbia University in 2007, Banerjee spent seven years as an assistant and then an associate professor at the University at Buffalo prior to coming to Texas A&M. His research interests are focused on nanomaterials, solid-state chemistry, materials for energy storage and conservation, phase transformations in materials, interface design, green buildings and multifunctional coatings. His research group includes two postdoctoral researchers, 12 Ph.D. students, and three undergraduates.

Banerjee's career honors to date beyond both the Beilby and Rosenhain Medals include a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2009), the American Chemical Society ExxonMobil Solid-State-Chemistry Fellowship (2010), the Cottrell Scholar Award (2011), the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Young Leader Award (2013) and the Journal of Physical Chemistry Lectureship (2013). In addition to being named a Scialog Fellow in 2013, Banerjee was named to MIT Technology Review's global list of "top 35 innovators under the age of 35" in 2012 for the discovery of dynamically switchable smart windows technology that promises a dramatic reduction in the energy footprint of buildings.

Despite being at an early stage of his research career, Banerjee's is a name already well known in national and international research circles. His research is described by his nominator Daniel Fischer, head of the Synchrotron Methods Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as "profoundly insightful, meticulously detailed, and beautifully juxtaposing theory and experiment." Fischer notes that, in addition to developing entirely new materials with remarkable new properties, Banerjee routinely takes his work one step further, transforming his discoveries into real technologies with real-world benefit.

"His discovery of smart windows and roofs based on phase transitions in nanostructured binary and ternary vanadium oxides is changing the lives of some of the poorest populations in the developing world," Fischer said. "Likewise, his discovery of anti-rust graphene/polyetherimide nanocomposite coatings as replacements for carcinogenic hexavalent chromium has revolutionized automotive and aerospace industries. I can think of no young materials scientist who is as deserving of this recognition."

Banerjee has published nearly 120 articles cited in excess of 6,500 times for a Hirsch (h)-index of 36. He is listed as an inventor on six issued patents. In addition, he serves as an associate editor for journal RSC Advances and is a member of the editorial boards of the Institute of Physics' Materials Research Express and the Journal of Coordination Chemistry.

A prominent advocate for materials research and education, he has spoken at the U.S. State Department, U.S. Government Accountability Office and on both National Public Radio and Australian Public Radio. He currently serves on the Public and Governmental Affairs Committee of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society.

For additional information about Banerjee and his research, visit http://www.chem.tamu.edu/faculty/banerjee.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development survey (2014), based on expenditures of more than $854 million in fiscal year 2014. Texas A&M's research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

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Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee, (979) 862-3102 or banerjee@chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Banerjee (left), working in his Texas A&M Chemistry lab with 2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and group member Luis De Jesus '18.

  • Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee

  • Candid of Banerjee at the mic in London. (Credit: IOM3.)

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