Chemical Society of Washington Honors Dr. Carter T. White of NRL

3/28/2006 - 15-06r
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Dr. Carter T. White of the Naval Research Laboratory's Chemistry Division is the recipient of the Chemical Society of Washington's distinguished Hillebrand Prize for 2005. The society recognized Dr. White with the 80th presentation of this annual award in early March. His work appeared in the March issue of the Capital Chemist.

The Hillebrand Prize honors Dr. White "for seminal and sustained contributions to the theory of carbon nanotubes and shock-induced chemistry in materials."

Dr. White received a B.S. from Virginia Tech in 1971 and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1976. After serving as a National Research Council Associate with the Electronics Technology Division NRL, he joined the NRL Chemistry Division staff in 1979 to work on electroactive polymers. At the time, conventional wisdom held that such an intrinsically conducting molecular wire was unlikely, if not impossible, because a spontaneous symmetry breaking would convert it into a semiconductor. However, in 1992, Dr. White and his coworkers, in the earliest published paper devoted to single-wall carbon nanotubes, predicted that armchair carbon nanotubes, if made, would overcome this roadblock. This was experimentally confirmed years later.

Current research on carbon nanotubes continues to advance rapidly, with many experimental and theoretical efforts now devoted to the study of these and related materials. These nanowires have already been used to construct transistors, logic circuits, diodes, and sensors and are considered as leading candidates to replace silicon in some 21st century electronic devices.

In a different area, his research group was the first to establish that large-scale molecular dynamics simulations employing chemically-realistic potentials could be used to directly link discrete atomic-scale chemistry to the continuum theory of condensed phase detonations.

During his career, Dr. White built the NRL Theoretical Chemistry Section from scratch and rose through the NRL ranks to become a Senior Scientist, now in the Chemistry Division's Navy Center for Safety and Survivability. He spent a year as a Program Director for Condensed Matter Theory (now Materials Theory) at NSF (1985), as a Visiting Scientist within the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford (1996), and as Professor of Physics and Westinghouse Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Washington State University (1999). Because of his research on shock-induced chemistry, Dr. White has long been involved with the American Physical Society (APS) Topical Group on the Shock Compression of Condensed Matter, most recently serving as Co-chair of the 14th APS Conference on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (2005). His research has been recognized by a number of awards including NRL's E. O. Hulburt Award (2005), the NRL Edison Chapter Sigma Xi Award for Pure Science (1996), and seven NRL Alan Berman Basic Research Publication Awards. In addition to being a member of the Chemical Society of Washington, the American Chemical Society, and the Materials Research Society, Dr. White is a fellow of the APS through the Division of Chemical Physics.

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