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U. professors among ‘Most Influential Scientific Minds’

Five highly cited Brown professors ranked in annual list published by Thomson Reuters

Five Brown professors were named on Thomson Reuters’ list of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2015,” a compilation of nearly 3,000 researchers who have authored papers written from 2003 to 2013 that were highly cited in their publication year.

This method “seeks out authors who have consistently produced papers, which have, in turn, won peer approval,” the website states. Thomson Reuters also selects researchers who have authored “Hot Papers,” which attract citations almost immediately following publication.

Being selected was “certainly an honor, and I was humbled,” said Huajian Gao, professor of engineering and the only Brown faculty member to make the list for the first time this year. His highly cited papers concern Strain Gradient Plasticity, the mechanical behavior at a microscopic scale of biological structures, he said.

Gao has researched why bone as a substance has “such good structures even though its chemical properties are weak.” He teaches undergraduate courses such as ENGN 0030: “Introduction to Engineering” and ENGN 0310: “Mechanics of Solids and Structures.”

Shouheng Sun, professor of chemistry and engineering, saw his repeat nomination as an indicator that the projects “we have been doing at Brown are appealing to others in the scientific community,” he wrote in an email to The Herald. “We are proud to be one of the leaders in the field of nanochemistry and nanomaterials research.”

Sun credits his work on chemical synthesis and nanoparticle self-assembly for the honor. In his work, he has extended nanoparticle research to nanomedicine and energy applications, he wrote, adding that more than 10 undergraduates have helped him with his research.

Sun also created a class in 2005 titled CHEM 1700: “Nanoscale Materials: Synthesis and Applications,” which allows undergraduates to learn about nanochemistry, nanomaterials and nano-technological applications, he wrote.

Dov Sax, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and environmental studies, has also seen his work on the list before. He focuses on examining “species invasions or species’ responses to climate change,” he wrote in an email to The Herald.

“When you introduce a species to a place it has never occurred before, there is potential that it will do some harm to native species,” he wrote, adding that he is most interested in how the introduced species interact with native species. Sax teaches BIOL 1470: “Conservation Biology” every fall.

It is not uncommon for researchers to make the list multiple times due to the honor’s cumulative nature, Sax wrote, adding that nonetheless a repeat appearance is “certainly nice.”

Gregory Tucker, professor of physics, and Martin Keller, professor emeritus of psychiatry and human behavior, also made the list this year.



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