Maryland Engineers Graham, Nau, Zhao elected Fellows of AAAS

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Three A. James Clark School of Engineering professors have been newly chosen as 2022 Fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.

Clark School Dean and Nariman Farvardin Professor Samuel Graham, Jr.; Professor Dana Nau; and Ji-Cheng “JC” Zhao, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Minta Martin Professor, are among the 506 engineers, scientists, and innovators elected for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

“The elections of Professors Graham, Nau, and Zhao to AAAS Fellowship are further evidence of their leadership and impact, both among their scientific communities and on society as a whole,” said UMD Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice. “I’m pleased to congratulate them on this prestigious distinction, which demonstrates the world-class thinkers people can access here at the University of Maryland.”

headshot of Samuel Graham Jr

Graham, who became dean of the Clark School in October 2021, is an internationally recognized expert on the development of electronics made from wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors for a range of applications in communications, power electronics, and neuromorphic computing. His research focuses on engineering the electrothermal response of the devices in order to enhance heat dissipation and improve device reliability. In addition, he is creating physics-based models and unique experimental tools for verification that will enable the optimization and digital engineering of these electronics. Through his work with DOE National Laboratories, he is also developing thermal storage materials for use in building energy systems. Graham has won numerous honors for his work: In 2022, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) awarded him one of its top honors, the Allan Kraus Thermal Management Medal, in recognition of his expertise in the thermal engineering of WBG semiconductor devices and interfaces, including heterogeneous integration methods for thermal management.

headshot of Dana Nau

Nau is well-known for his expertise in artificial intelligence, automated planning, and game theory. He invented the Simple Hierarchical Ordered Planner (SHOP), as well as the SHOP, SHOP2, and Pyhop automated-planning systems that have been used in thousands of projects worldwide. He wrote the AI planning and game-tree search algorithm used by the computer program that won the 1997 world championship of computer bridge; he also discovered pathological game trees and is known for his game-theoretic studies of the evolution of cultural characteristics such as third-party punishment and ethnocentrism. Nau is part of the MURI: Innovations in Mean-Field Game Theory for Scalable Computation and Diverse Applications and the SPADE: Strategic Probabilistic Attitudinal Diplomacy Engine project. He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Association for Computing Machinery. Nau holds a joint appointment in the Clark School’s Institute for Systems Research (ISR), of which he is a founding faculty member, and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences’ Department of Computer Science.

headshot of Ji-Cheng J-C Zhao

Zhao is a pioneer in the development of accelerated methodologies for discovery and rapid screening for metals, and a renowned expert on computational design of materials. He has made outstanding contributions to basic and applied research in metals and their deployment in critical applications in energy infrastructure. Zhao was the 2021 recipient of the TMS William Hume-Rothery Award, presented annually to recognize a scientific leader for exceptional scholarly contributions to the science of alloys. He also received a 2022 Humboldt Research Award and is slated to receive the 2023 J. Willard Gibbs Phase Equilibria Award from ASM International. He is a Fellow of ASM International, the Materials Research Society, the National Academy of Inventors, and The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (class of 2023). Zhao is also an inventor on 49 issued U.S. patents and has experience in industry (12 years at GE), government (four years at ARPA-E), and academia.

Graham, Nau, and Zhao are three of seven University of Maryland faculty elected to AAAS Fellowship this year. They are joined by Professors Sonalde Desai (Department of Sociology); Abba Gumel (Department of Mathematics, Department of Biology, Institute for Physical Science and Technology); Mohammad Hajiaghayi (Department of Computer Science, Institute for Advanced Computer Studies); and Wolfgang Losert (Institute for Physical Science and Technology, Department of Physics).

Read more about UMD's 2022 fellows

A tradition dating back to 1874, election to AAAS Fellowship is a lifetime honor, and all Fellows are expected to meet the commonly held standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity. Distinguished past honorees include W.E.B. DuBois, Ellen Ochoa, Steven Chu, Grace Hopper, Alan Alda, Mae Jemison, and Ayanna Howard.

Published January 31, 2023