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10/29/2012 09:16:50

Julia Greer Receives NASA Research Grant and Early Career Awards

Julia Greer is going to need to find space in her office for all of the awards, medals, and grant acceptance letters she has been receiving lately.

While celebrating her recent Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics magazine, Greer—a Caltech assistant professor of materials science and mechanics—received notice from NASA that she is among a select group of 10 recipients of the agency's inaugural Space Technology Research Opportunities Early Career Faculty grants.

Greer also recently learned that she has received the 2013 Early Career Faculty Fellow award from the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) and the Young Investigator's Medal from the Society of Engineering Science (SES).

NASA's Space Technology Research Opportunities (STRO) program was established to identify and develop technologies that advance the agency's space-exploration priorities. For future space missions, NASA needs spacecraft and equipment to be made of strong, light, and durable materials. Through the STRO Early Career Faculty program, Greer's materials-science laboratory at Caltech—which recently helped develop the world's lightest solid material, a lattice composed of tiny, metallic tubes with a density of just 0.9 milligrams per cubic centimeter—will have access to as much as $200,000 per year for three years to develop structures made of lightweight, radiation- and damage-tolerant materials.

"In addition to being proud at having been chosen by NASA for this grant, I speak for my whole lab group when I say we are excited to be working to create the next generation of materials to be used in space exploration," says Greer.

"I am also very pleased to have been recognized by TMS as an early career fellow and the SES as a young investigator medal winner," Greer adds. "It is nice to see that the innovations that are happening here at Caltech are getting recognition from the broader community of materials scientists."

According to TMS, the Early Career Faculty Award recognizes assistant professors for accomplishments that have advanced their academic institutions and that broaden the technological profile of TMS. Formal presentation of Greer's TMS early career award will take place at the 142nd TMS annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on March 5.

The SES Young Investigator Medal is awarded each year to researchers within 10 years of earning their doctoral degree and is given for work that has made a significant impact on their field within engineering science. The medal comes with a $1,000 prize and an invitation to give an address at the annual meeting of the SES.

Written by Brian Bell