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   from the issue of April 15, 2004

Zeng named fellow


Xiao Cheng Zeng, Willa Cather professor of chemistry, has received a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for 2004. The 185 artists, scholars and scientists named in the 2004 United States and Canada competition were selected from more than 3,200 applicants for awards totaling $6.9 million.


Zeng’s fellowship selection is for his research in novel nano-structures of silicon. Zeng in February published a paper on silicon nanotubes in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was his third paper in a major international science journal in three years, two being on low-dimensional water and ice, including the discovery of “Nebraska Ice,” in Nature in 2000 and 2001. Zeng’s research has focused on computational and theoretical studies of liquids, solids, thin films, interfaces, nanotubes and nano-clusters, with further interest in computational nanotribology and modeling of atomic force microscopy.

His UNL appointments are in the Center for Materials Research and Analysis and in the Department of Chemistry. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Peking University and his Ph.D at Ohio State University. He was hired at UNL in 1993. In 2002, he received the appointment of Willa Cather Distinguished Professor after earning full professor in 2001.

Zeng said his fellowship will allow for additional time and travel to collaborate with his research partner, Hideki Tanaka of Okayama University in Japan, and other scientists in Asia with whom he has worked on the silicon nanotube research.

“This gives me opportunities to explore more possibilities on this research and travel to collaborate with my partners in Hong Kong, Beijing and elsewhere,” he said.

The average Guggenheim fellowship award in 2004 is $37,362, according to the Guggenheim press release, which featured Zeng’s research among some of its most interesting and unique.

“I am really fortunate to have been selected and singled out,” he said. “I also hope that this reflects well on the university.”

The fellowship is one of several noted in annual Indicators of Quality reports that highlight data, facts and figures for inclusion in various quality reviews. UNL has had only five other Guggenheim fellows since 1962, according to Guggenheim records. Past winners have included Henry Baumgarten, chemistry, and Paul A. Olson, English, 1962; Paul A. Johnsgard, biological sciences, 1970; Craig Eckhardt, chemistry, 1979; and Jim C. H. Wang, chemistry, 2001.

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed based on distinguished achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. What distinguishes the Guggenheim Fellowship program from others is the wide range in interest, age, geography and institutions of those it selects as it considers applications in 79 fields from the natural sciences to the creative arts. Many of these individuals hold appointments in colleges and universities with 87 institutions being represented by one or more Fellows.

Scores of Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer and other prize winners appear on the roll of Fellows, including Ansel Adams, Aaron Copland, Langston Hughes, Henry Kissinger, Vladimir Nabokov, Linus Pauling, Martha Graham, Philip Roth, Derek Walcott, James Watson and Eudora Welty.



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