UTSA physicist Miguel Yacaman to receive distinguished award for scientific research

Miguel Yacaman

UTSA's Miguel Yacaman (in white shirt)
(Photo by Patrick R. Dunn)

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(Sept. 27, 2012) -- Miguel Jose Yacaman, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy, was selected to receive the 2012 Distinguished Scientist Award by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Recipients are recognized for their exemplary scientific achievement, teaching and mentorship of underrepresented minority science students. He will receive the award Oct. 11 at the SACNAS National Conference in Seattle.

Yacaman's research focuses on nanotechnology and materials science. He also has worked on the physics of nanoparticles, defects in solids, archaeological materials, catalysis and applications of electron microscopy to biology.

An active proponent of graduate student recruitment and retention, Yacaman helped UTSA develop a joint physics doctoral program with UT Brownsville and coordinated the development of the NSF‐funded Partnership for Research and Education in Materials program, which seeks to train underrepresented minority students from South Texas in laboratories at UTSA and Northwestern University.

Yacaman also developed an NIH-funded Research Centers in Minority Institutions program for developing nanotechnology in minority-serving institutions. Additionally, he has managed the International Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (ICAM) and has been an important liaison with Mexican scientists by promoting collaborations between UTSA and Mexican universities.

An author of nine books and more than 500 technical papers, Yacaman has served as associate editor for several professional journals and is considered one of the pioneers in nanotechnology with publications on the topic dating back to the '70s. Through his mentorship, more than 50 doctoral and master's students have graduated, and his laboratory has hosted more than 100 postdoctoral researchers and visiting professors.

Yacaman's list of accolades include numerous prizes, such as the Mehl Award of the Materials Society, John Wheatley Award of the American Physical Society, Guggenheim Fellowship and National Science Prize of Mexico. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

With more than 25,000 in its membership, SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists -- from college students to professionals -- to attain advanced degrees, careers and positions of leadership in science.