Sheng Dai, a researcher in the Chemical Sciences Division of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has earned the UT-Battelle Director's Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Science and Technology.
He was honored by ORNL Director Thom Mason for "world-class leadership in the synthesis and application of novel functional porous materials, nanomaterials and ionic liquids to energy-relevant problems."
Dai, who was also named this year's distinguished scientist at UT-Battelle's annual Awards Night, is an internationally recognized leader in the design, synthesis and application of mesoporous materials and ionic liquids to problems related to the nation's energy challenges.
Dai was cited for his innovative breakthroughs in advanced materials that can be applied toward technologies ranging from improved batteries for electric vehicles to catalytic systems for water purification. He leads his division's nanomaterials chemistry group and is also a task co-leader for the catalysis research effort in the multiscale functionality group at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences.
Also recognized with Director's Awards were the top team effort and individuals in laboratory operations and community service.
ORNL members of a collaboration that explored the properties of the subatomic nucleus tin-132 and tied it to the inner workings of cataclysmic supernova explosions received the director's team award. The work, which included ORNL's Physics Division, the University of Tennessee and six collaborating institutions, was published in Nature magazine in May and has been hailed a "technical tour de force."
ORNL members of the team include Kate Grzywacz-Jones, Daniel Bardayan, Kyung Yuk Chae, Jolie Cizewski, Raymond Kozub, Felix Liang, Brian Moazen, Caroline Nesaraja, Steven Pain, Dan Shapira, John F. Shriner Jr. and Michael Smith.
DeAnn Ingram of the Business Services Division received the Director's Award for Laboratory Operations for "exceptional leadership to ORNL's business management systems." As a manager for the Business Analysis Division, Ingram is responsible for the DOE annual budget formulation process, the overhead-indirect budget process and the fiscal year closing and start-up processes. Through her experience, broad in-depth knowledge and willingness to take on difficult assignments, colleagues recognize Ingram as the "go to" person on many projects.
Samuel McKenzie, who directs facilities and operations at the Spallation Neutron Source, received the Director's Award for Community Service. McKenzie, who is an elected member of the Knox County Commission, has volunteered in civic organizations and served in numerous leadership roles, as well as being a founding member of the East Tennessee Knoxville Athletic Association, an organization that operates inner-city youth sport leagues.