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New materials science director touts interdisciplinary research

By Will Ferguson, College of Arts & Sciences

Aurora-ClarkPULLMAN, Wash. – Aurora Clark, associate professor of chemistry, has been named interim director of the materials science and engineering program at Washington State University.

An accomplished researcher, she designs novel materials and predicts the results of chemical reactions using powerful computer algorithms and data mining techniques. Her work has been featured in WiredForbes and Gizmag. She has collaborated with faculty and supervised graduate students in the program throughout her career at WSU.

“I am excited to have this wonderful opportunity to showcase the breadth of research in our program,” Clark said. “We have world-class professors tackling fundamental materials science from the atomic and molecular level all the way to device development, manufacturing and commercialization.”

The program is the largest interdisciplinary doctoral program in materials science and engineering in the Northwest. Faculty research interests range from designing advanced nuclear energy technologies to making new materials for medical implants. Graduates often go on to work in academia, Fortune 500 companies and national laboratories.

The program provides students access to cutting edge equipment in mechanical, materials, civil, chemical and bioengineering, as well as physics and chemistry. This includes a positron beam that is considered among the best facilities in the world. It is used to study tiny particles called positrons that could one day allow for the possibility of antimatter propulsion.

The program is a joint initiative between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

“No single department has this kind of flexibility,” Clark said. “It gives current students access to infrastructure and professional development opportunities that are otherwise hard to come by. My goal as director is to grow the synergistic intersection of materials science and engineering.”

Clark, who joined WSU in 2005, received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Indiana University in 2003 and a B.S. in chemistry from Central Washington University in 1999.

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