Dr. Carter T. White Receives E.O. Hulburt Award

11/28/2005 - 50-05r
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Dr. Carter T. White, a Senior Scientist with the Naval Research Laboratory's Chemistry Division, has received the Laboratory's highest civilian honor for scientific achievement, the annual E. O. Hulburt Award. Dr. White, a member of the Navy Technology Center for Safety and Survivability, was recognized for his "outstanding contributions to the theory of carbon nanotubes and shock-induced chemistry, which influenced the development of both fields, the activities of numerous scientists in government, academia, and private industry, and the current shaping of agency program goals."

Nanoscience is currently a major global initiative with far reaching technological consequences. A significant fraction of this effort addresses nanotubes and nanowires, which can have widths 10,000 times smaller than a human hair and lengths exceeding an inch. According to the nomination, Dr. White's pioneering theoretical studies aided in the birth of this area. In the first published paper on single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), highlighted in Richard Smalley's 1996 Nobel Prize address, he and colleagues predicted that, if made, SWCNTs would be exceptional intrinsic electrical conductors. This theoretical prediction, which went against conventional wisdom, was the product of more than a decade long search by Dr. White for such a molecular wire. It helped stimulate worldwide efforts first to synthesize SWCNTs and then to measure their properties, resulting in experimental confirmation 5 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 an entirely different area, Dr. White and colleagues overcame formidable obstacles to show that molecular dynamics simulations could provide unprecedented insight into atom-scale chemical processes at solid-state detonation fronts while producing results consistent with continuum theory. This research laid the foundation for his subsequent collaboration with scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The collaboration has yielded new materials processing criteria for the production of explosives that are expected to be less sensitive to accidental detonation caused, for example, by high velocity shell impact. Dr. White's research team has also made important contributions to the theory of electron- and photon-stimulated damage and desorption, clusters, conducting polymers, chemistry of defects in semiconductors, carbon nanostructures, and simulations of condensed phase detonations. According to the NRL bibliography, which draws from a database containing over 37,000 publications, his group has produced two of the top ten most highly cited NRL publications.

Dr. White was born in Leesburg, Virginia where he graduated from Loudoun County High School in 1967. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics in 1971 and 1976, respectively, from Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. He also spent a year at the National Science Foundation as Program Director for Condensed Matter/Materials Theory (1985 - 1986) and at the University of Oxford (1996 - 1997) in the UK. Dr. White has published over 170 refereed papers with this work cited over 4,500 times in the refereed literature. Six of these papers have won NRL Alan Berman Research Publication Awards. Some of his other recognitions include the NRL-Edison Sigma Xi Pure Science Award (1996), election to Fellowship of the American Physical Society (APS) through the Division of Chemical Physics (1998), and appointment as Westinghouse Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Washington State University (1999).

Dr. White is the Co-chair of the 2005 APS Topical Conference on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter and has also served as Chair (1998) and Vice-chair (1997) of the APS Shock Compression Science Award Committee. In addition, he is an active member of the American Chemical Society and the Materials Research Society. His professional performance and development record includes over 300 presentations including more than 75 invited talks at professional society meetings, workshops, Gordon conferences, and NATO institutes.

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