Lamar University has honored Rafael Tadmor, an associate professor in the Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical Engineering, as the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer for 2010.
“Force and Motion: From Ancient Egypt to Lamar University” will be the topic of his lecture, sponsored by ExxonMobil, to be presented at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in the University Theatre. The lecture will be open to the public without charge.
A Lamar faculty member since 2003, Tadmor is the 24th recipient of the honor – one of the highest accorded a Lamar faculty member. A committee of faculty, staff, students and community representatives makes the selection. This marks the first time a faculty member from the College of Engineering has received the honor.
The lecture will survey the concept of force from antiquity to the latest discovery in December 2009 at Lamar University, where Tadmor said, “We made our own significant contribution to the characterization of forces.”
He will provide scientific-historical prospective from discoveries in the ancient world (ancient Greece and medieval times through 21st-century Lamar) – including discoveries by such well-known figures as Socrates, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, who progressively laid the foundations to present-day science, including Tadmor’s 2009 discovery at Lamar University.
“We built the first-ever instrument to decouple normal and lateral retention forces,” said Tadmor. “With this homemade device, amazing discoveries echoed throughout the world. For example, we could see that drops resting on a surface require more force to slide than drops hanging from a surface.”
In his presentation, Tadmor will describe the instrument, the type of forces it measures and theoretical considerations – all in laymen’s terms – “to account for the seemingly counter-intuitive results that already have made a huge impact on the scientific world.”
Responding to his selection as Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, Tadmor said: “There was a great thing that happened in my lab, and this was the building of an instrument and a breakthrough in science. It is a unique thing, and it is fundamental. It’s made a significant impact throughout the world, so I am glad to have gotten the opportunity to expose the community to the great news.”
Doctoral, master’s and undergraduate students joined Tadmor in the project, which has been discussed in a number of leading scientific journals and by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2009, Tadmor noted, the “made-in-Lamar” paper was published in Physical Review Letters, making it Lamar’s first-ever paper in that “Ivy League journal.”
The ground-breaking discovery prompted articles in journals around the world, Tadmor said, giving Lamar unprecedented recognition in such publications as Physical Review Focus, Physics Today, Physics World, Sciencestage, C&EN and Responsible Nanotechnology. In addition, it was published in the French La Recherche, the most widespread scientific journal in the French-speaking world, and in Tribology & Lubrication Technology, published by the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.
A native of Israel, Tadmor has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the Technion: Israel Institute of Technology and a doctor of philosophy in surface physics from Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where he also pursued postdoctoral studies. He did additional postdoctoral work, in biomaterials, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Tadmor has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications to his credit and has written several book chapters.
Dorothy Sisk, professor of professional pedagogy, was the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. Other honorees have been Donna Birdwell, anthropology; Keith Carter and Jerry Newman, art; Richard Harrel, biology; Jean Andrews, deaf studies/deaf education; Sam Parigi, economics; R.S. “Sam” Gwynn and Jim Sanderson, English; Kenneth Rivers, French; Jim Jordan, William Pampe and Jim Westgate, geology; John Carroll, Ronald Fritze, John Storey, J. Lee Thompson and Naaman Woodland, history; Dianna Rivers, nursing; Joe Pizzo, physics; Terri Davis, political science; James Esser, psychology; and Christine Bridges-Esser, Spanish.
Tue, May 18, 2010
by Brian Sattler