What's Up UA? - Three UA Faculty Members Inducted as Regents' Professors, Two as Distinguished Professors - Tucson Local Media: University Of Arizona

What's Up UA? - Three UA Faculty Members Inducted as Regents' Professors, Two as Distinguished Professors

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:37 am

Three University of Arizona faculty members, each of them pioneers in their respective fields who have been recognized nationally or internationally for their work, on Thursday were formally inducted as Regents' Professors. Two others were inducted as University Distinguished Professors in recognition of their long-term commitment to undergraduate education.

The new UA Regents' Professors are Neal R. Armstrong from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Xiaohui Fan from the Department of Astronomy and Hsinchun Chen from the UA Eller College of Management. Only 3 percent of an Arizona university's tenured or tenure-track faculty can carry the title at any given time.

The two faculty members inducted as Distinguished Professors are Eric A. Betterton, professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and Charles W. Scruggs, professor of English.
Neal R. Armstrong

Developing advanced solar cell technologies thatXi would make energy generation easier, more accessible and less expensive to produce is one of the most important scientific feats of our time.

Armstrong, a chemistry and optical sciences professor, is developing such technologies and is considered one of the leading global scientists and scholars in his field.

Armstrong’s research has greatly informed the development and technological improvement of new types of solar cells and devices needed to convert electricity into light – like that found in found in smartphone displays.

He has been a leading scientist in the development and characterization of thin films of organic semiconducting materials. Also, he has greatly advanced what is understood about the chemistry of interfaces between such materials and compounds and other organic semiconductors.

"Given his internationally recognized research contributions, passion for teaching, and quality of service, I give my strongest possible support to the nomination," Jean-Luc Brédas, Regents’ Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech, noted in his nomination letter. "In fact, I believe this recognition is long overdue."

Armstrong directs the Center for Interface Science: Solar Electric Materials, an Energy Frontier Research Center, which received $15 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The multidisciplinary center, based at the UA, was established in 2009 after U.S. President Barack Obama announced that fewer than 50 of its kind would be funded. Investigators at other universities and laboratories are involved with the center.

Armstrong and his co-investigators are leading researchers at the fore of developing "Generation III" photovoltaic technologies. The aim is to develop new, advanced photovoltaic materials that would be thin, flexible and inexpensive enough to be placed not merely on rooftops, but also in windows and clothing.

Xiaohui Fan

UA astronomy professor Fan’s career spans an important paradigm shift in astronomy: the move from studying objects dating back billions of years to investigating younger objects and what actions occurred to shape the universe.

It was about 12 years ago that Fan took the route toward understanding the origins of a pivotal epoch in the universe's history – the cosmic re-ionization period. That time, which ended about 1 billion years after the Big Bang, saw the birth of the first stars in the young universe. Fan also wanted to find answers to the question of how much matter exists in the cosmos.

Fan’s research into the most distant quasars known to humans resulted in an important breakthrough in his field, greatly enhancing what was understood about the re-ionization history of the universe and the formation of early galaxies and supermassive black holes.

“When astronomers think about this 'Epoch of Re-ionization,' Xiaohui's name is always one of the first to be mentioned," UA Regents' Professor of Astronomy Marcia J. Rieke noted in a nominating letter for Fan. "Xiaohui Fan represents the best in astronomy worldwide."

Hsinchun Chen

The ability to best utilize "big data" for societal benefits – such as building massive, easily accessible digital libraries and being able to identify and curtail cyber attacks – is at the core of Chen’s research.

The Thomas R. Brown Chair in Management and Technology in the UA Eller College of Management, Chen is a highly cited scholar in data mining and informatics.

Known as one of the first researchers to shift from merely searching for numbers to analyzing text, videos and Web pages, Chen has conducted research that has directly impacted the expansion of scholarship in information systems, data mining, biomedical informatics, intelligence and security informatics.

"Unlike many of his research peers, Professor Chen's work is unique in its strong emphasis in creating practical and working intelligent systems on real datasets," Ee-Peng Lim, a Singapore Management University professor of information systems, noted in a nominating letter. "It is clearly impossible to enumerate all the achievements Professor Chen has made in his distinguished career."

Chen, also founding director of the UA Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, significantly improved law enforcement data mining through leading the development of the COPLINK software, a system that thousands of law enforcement and intelligence agencies have adopted. Among numerous other uses, the system aided investigations into the Beltway sniper attacks in Washington, D.C.

Today, Chen is principal investigator of Cybersecurity Scholarship-for-Service at the UA, or AZSecure, one of the largest Scholarship-for-Service grants the National Science Foundation has awarded in the nation. He is also principal investigator on a second NSF grant-funded project designed to investigate cyber attackers and attacks through the use of social media analytics. Both projects total $5.4 million in funding from the NSF and have important implications for researchers, policymakers and industries. 

Eric A. Betteron

Betterton, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, is an environmental scientist who is a highly regarded expert in pollutants. Betterton has been at the fore of significant investigations that have led to changes in practice and legislation for the benefit of public health.

More recently, Betterton has led investigations of aerosols with relation to mining activities; advanced pollution prevention in smaller communities; and had studied air quality issues in the Great Lakes region. Of note, his research on water and air pollutants has earned continuous National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences funding – nearly $4 million over a 16-year period.

Charles W. Scruggs

Scruggs joined the UA faculty in 1967 and has since been intensely focused on improving undergraduate education, encouraging critical thinking and humanitarianism.

An English professor and expert in 18th-century British and American literature, Scruggs has established important foundational classes, including the "Survey of British Literature" and "Survey of American Literature" courses. Also, he was at the forefront of developing analytical teaching of film decades ago at the University.

Scruggs also has advanced important work in the field of African-American literature and modernism, having authored texts such as "The Sage in Harlem: H.L. Mencken and the Black Writers of the 1920s" and "Sweet Home: Invisible Cities in the Afro-American Novel."

© 2017 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Oro Valley Audiology

Oro Valley AudiologyAddress: 2542 E Vistoso Commerce Loop Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755Phone:(520) ...

Saturday 09/26/2015

Little goes right for the Wildcats

Saturday 09/19/2015

Records fall in lopsided win

Friday 09/04/2015

Arizona challenged by Roadrunners

Tuesday 08/18/2015

Arizona has few questions at QB

Thursday 08/06/2015

Cats open fall drills

Monday 03/09/2015

McConnell, Johnson finalists for awards Johnson Named FOY, Four Wildcats Honored by Pac-12

Monday 01/19/2015

Johnson named Player of the Week

Friday 01/16/2015

Wildcats down shorthanded Colorado

Monday 01/05/2015

Vote for Sean Miller & win $100,000 for the Tucson Ronald McDonald House

Monday 12/15/2014

Arts and Sciences Are Writing a New Love Story Together

Thursday 12/11/2014

More hardware for UA's Wright

Wednesday 12/10/2014

S.H.I.E.L.D half season finale delivers Cats get a glimpse of the future in blowout

Friday 11/14/2014

UA Eller College To Share Economic Outlook for 2015-2016

Wednesday 11/12/2014

UA Humanities Seminars

Tuesday 11/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Hiring Interns? Top 8 Tips for Companies

Wednesday 10/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Close Encounter 'One in a Million'

Monday 10/13/2014

What's Up UA? - Austin Hill: The Comeback Kid

Monday 10/06/2014

What's Up UA? - Health, Wellness Practices Highlighted by Chinese Culture Festival

Thursday 10/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Ready for a Super-Fast Internet? UA Scientists Are Fast at Work on It

Tuesday 09/30/2014

What's Up UA? - Using the Force: UA Police Officer Completes NASA Project

Monday 09/29/2014

What's Up UA? - How New Social Movements Take Root

Friday 09/26/2014

What's Up UA? - PBS 'NewsHour' to Feature Inspirational UA Student

Wednesday 09/24/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Paves Way to Redefine STEM Education

Monday 09/22/2014

What's Up UA? - Wildcats Rally, Hail Mary TD Defeats Cal, 49-45

Thursday 09/18/2014

What's Up UA? - When Job Loss Equals Weight Gain

Monday 09/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Don’t Underestimate Your Mind’s Eye

Thursday 09/11/2014

What's Up UA? - 'What I Wish I Had Known as a Freshman'

Tuesday 09/09/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Undergraduate Researchers Take to the Radio

Thursday 09/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Send Your Tweet – and Your Name – to an Asteroid

Tuesday 09/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Brown Foundations' $2.5 Million Kicks Off Catapult Corp

Thursday 08/28/2014

What's Up UA? - New Veterinary Degree Program Made Possible by $9M Gift is Critical for State

Monday 08/25/2014

What's Up UA? - Laser 'Lightning Rods' Channel Electricity Through Thin Air

Thursday 08/21/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Fall Enrollment Sets Record for Diversity, Number of Freshmen

Tuesday 08/19/2014

What's Up UA? - Remarkable Résumé: UA Student Journalist's Career Includes CNN, NYT Phoenix

Friday 08/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Through Innovative Partnership, 'Hot Shot' Team Tackles Yuma Produce Perils

Wednesday 08/13/2014

What's Up UA? - The UA Named a Top College by The Princeton Review

Monday 08/11/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Researchers Study Increasing Lifespan and Immune Function What's Up UA? - UA Undergrads Conducting Microgravity Research Aboard NASA's G-Force One

Monday 06/09/2014

What's up UA? - UA to Host U.S. and Mexico Officials Exploring Collaborations in Education, Innovation, Research

Thursday 06/05/2014

What's Up UA? - New Wilderness Medicine Class Hones Patient Care Skills in Rugged Conditions

Tuesday 06/03/2014

Track Cats Send Eight Athletes to TrackTown USA

Monday 06/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Bringing a Spacecraft Back From the Dead

Friday 05/30/2014

What's Up UA? - Heart Attack Patient Defies Odds with Tailored Surgical Treatment at UA Medical Center

Thursday 05/29/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Marketing Students Win National AT&T Competition

Tuesday 05/27/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

Friday 05/23/2014

What's up UA? - Four UA Students Picked for Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarships

Wednesday 05/21/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

Monday 05/19/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Tunnels Get Carbon Fiber Makeover


Follow us on Facebook

Online poll