NEWS | Sept. 6, 2011

Dr. Debra Rolison Selected ACS Fellow

By Dom Panciarelli

Dr. Debra Rolison, a physical chemist in the Chemistry Division at the Naval Research Laboratory has been elevated to Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS). She is recognized for her major contributions to the chemistry of materials.

Rolison's research involves the design, synthesis, characterization, and application of nano-structured materials for rate-critical applications that encompass catalysis, energy storage and conversion, biomolecular composites, porous magnets, and sensors. She is being honored in particular for developing two metaphoric guides for nano-S&T: design of multi-functional nano-architectures and the importance of nothing and disorder for high-performance nano-materials.

Rolison is also being honored for her service to science, society, and the ACS as exemplified by her proposal in 2000 to apply Title IX assessments to academic departments of science, engineering, and mathematics, followed by a subsequent speaking tour (of more than eighty university and professional society lectures to date) on how to transform scientific institutions into inclusive, humane, fun, stimulating, innovative, and productive environments in which to live one's scientific career. Also noted was her service as an advisory board-member of the ACS journals Analytical Chemistry, Langmuir, and Nano Letters as well as serving as guest editor of select issues of Langmuir and the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

Rolison earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Florida Atlantic University in 1975 and a doctorate in chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, under Dr. Royce W. Murray in 1980. She joined NRL as a research chemist later that year. She is currently head of the Chemistry Division's Advanced Electrochemical Materials section and adjunct full professor of chemistry at the University of Utah.

Her other honors include election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Materials Research Society (inaugural class), and the Association for Women in Science and Engineering. Rolison is a recipient of two ACS Division awards: the R.A. Glenn (2007-Fuel Chemistry Division) and the A.K. Doolittle (2009 - Division of Polymer Materials: Science and Engineering) and this year was the first woman to receive the ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials. Rolison was also honored with the Sigma Xi-NRL Edison Chapter's Pure Science Award, the first woman recognized since the inauguration of this award in 1955.

The ACS Fellows Program was created by the ACS Board of Directors in 2008 to recognize members of the ACS for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession, and the society. Fellows come from academe, industry and government.

The ACS is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.