Professors Lynne Parker and Adriana Moreo have been selected as 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows for their work as leading researchers and their distinguished professional service.
Parker, a member of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was honored for her contributions to the field of robotics. She is the 32nd faculty member at UT to be recognized and the 10th from the Tickle College of Engineering. Parker also is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow. She is currently serving as assistant director for artificial intelligence for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“It’s always nice to be honored, especially when it comes from your peers in science and engineering,” said Parker. “This is validation—not just on a personal level, but on the growing importance of my chosen field of research.”
Adriana Moreo, a professor of theoretical condensed matter in the Department of Physics, also made the AAAS list for her studies of condensed matter—specifically the properties of materials that result from a large number of interacting atoms and electrons.
Moreo is the fourth member of the current physics faculty to be elected a fellow of the AAAS and the 33rd among all UT faculty. She also is a fellow of the American Physical Society.
“Internal motivation and curiosity are what really drives us to pursue research in physics, but having our efforts recognized by our colleagues provides the external support and encouragement that are needed to succeed,” Moreo said. “I really appreciate this recognition from my scientific colleagues and, as a female physicist, I hope that it may encourage younger women to join the physics community.”
A Life Dedicated to Robotics
During her time at UT, Parker founded the Distributed Intelligence Laboratory and the Center for Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning. She also served as associate department head and associate dean for faculty affairs and engagement.
Most recently Parker was interim dean of the Tickle College of Engineering before taking a position in theWhite House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
In this appointment, she leads artificial intelligence policy for the White House, which includes setting research and development priorities and establishing coordination; advising on budgetary matters; advancing infrastructure, education, and workforce initiatives; advancing AI innovation; and considering AI in national security and defense.
“AI is a topic of intense national and international attention, and the world is looking to the United States to provide leadership,” Parker said. “The opportunity to help lead the nation in an area that has such importance, and which has been the focus of my career, is a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. I am honored to be asked to serve the nation in this manner.”
Parker also has served as division director for information and intelligent systems at the National Science Foundation, leading the agency in shaping the nation’s artificial intelligence capabilities.
Searching for Better Materials
Moreo joined UT in 2004 and currently holds a joint position in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Division of Materials Science and Technology. She specializes in the research of condensed matter, a field that studies both the micro- and macroscopic physical aspects of matter.
Using a variety of theoretical and computational approaches, she studies and develops models that capture the properties of materials with strongly correlated electrons.
“The huge number of electrons inside a standard metal, such as copper, behave like independent particles,” Moreo explained. “In strongly correlated materials, the behavior of one electron is affected by the properties of all the other electrons in such a way that they behave as a coherent group—like synchronized swimmers instead of individual performers.”
This correlation drastically changes the properties of the correlated metals compared with standard metals and makes the calculations much more challenging.
The understanding of these kind of materials and the peculiar properties they can develop is crucial for new technologies that could affect energy storage, medicine, and computers.
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