A professor who specializes in early American history and a pioneer in the
field of nanotechnology have been appointed Letters and Science Distinguished
Professors at Montana State
Historian Billy Smith and chemistry professor Trevor Douglas will carry the
title for three years. They were chosen for their contributions to the College
of Letters and Science, MSU and the scholarly community at large, said Paula
Lutz, dean of the College of Letters and Science.
A reception in their honor will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24,
in the Leigh Lounge in the Strand Union Building. Smith and Douglas will give
public lectures sometime during this academic year.
Smith, who has taught in MSU's Department of History and Philosophy since 1981,
is an accomplished academic who excels as a teacher and researcher, said department
head Brett Walker. Smith has an exceptional record of publication and helped
redesign the core courses required of all students at MSU. His many honors include
the James and Mary Ross Provost's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching,
the Cox Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, the Wiley Award for Research,
and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical
Society and the American Council of Learned Societies. Smith has published eight
books, including a major encyclopedia of early American history. He is writing
"Ship of Death: The Voyage that Changed the Atlantic World," to be
published by National Geographic Books. Smith was recently elected to the prestigious
American Antiquarian Society.
Douglas, who joined the MSU faculty in 2001, is internationally recognized
for his pioneering research in the field of nanoscience, or the science of controlling
matter on an atomic and molecular scale, said David Singel, head of MSU's Department
of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Douglas received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.
He did postdoctoral research at Bath University in the United Kingdom. He has
published more than 115 scientific papers, and his research is routinely published
in the most prestigious journals including "Science," "Nature"
and the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science." Douglas
has secured several patents and provisional patents for MSU, and has done extraordinary
work in fostering collaborative, interdisciplinary research at MSU, Singel said.
He is a co-founder and current director of the Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials,
and has been involved in 25 funded grants with other MSU faculty. He received
the University Merit Award for Research in 1999 and the Outstanding Faculty
Award for Teaching in 1996.