Dr. Rhonda Stroud Elected Fellow of the American Physical SocietyBy Amanda Bowie | June 14, 2010
Dr. Rhonda Stroud, Head, Nanoscale Materials Section at the Naval Research Laboratory was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Division of Condensed Matter Physics. APS recognized Stroud with election to fellowship for contributions to the understanding of the structure of synthetic and natural materials including Ti-based quasicrystals, aerogel nanocomposites, spin-polarized thin film devices and dust from stars and comets.
The APS Fellowship Program was created to recognize members who have made advances in knowledge through original research and publication or made significant and innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. Each year, no more than one-half of one percent of the then current membership of the Society are recognized by their peers for the election to the status of Fellow in APS.
Since joining NRL in 1996, as an NRC Cooperative Research Associate, Stroud has contributed broadly to the advancement of materials physics research in such diverse areas as quasicrystals, aerogel-based nanocomposites, spin-polarized materials, e.g., manganites and spin-LEDs, and remnant cosmic dust from the formation of the solar system. In each of these areas, she demonstrated great creativity in drawing on her expertise in materials analysis, producing significant results. Stroud's initial work at NRL was critical to the development of tunable nano-architectures based on silica aerogel, resulting in four patents, and it was her Ph.D. thesis that led to the discovery of the first stable Ti-based quasicrystal.
Recently, Stroud has focused her research on determining the crystal structures of dust grains that condense in the outflow of stars pre-dating the sun. Those in the planetary materials community consider Stroud a pioneer in the development of focused ion beam microscopy techniques for coordinated structure-isotope-chemistry studies of nanoscale grains. Her work resulted in confirmation that dust condensation around Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars follows the predicted thermodynamic equilibrium pathway. She has also contributed to the analysis of comet dust and interstellar dust samples from the NASA Stardust Mission, the first solid sample return mission since the Apollo era.
Stroud's pinoeering work has garnered her many awards, including the 2003 Sigma Xi NRL Edison Chapter Young Investigator Award recognizing her work as the best among NRL scientists within ten years of Ph.D. completion. Additionaly, she has received three Alan Berman Publication Awards at NRL; the National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship Award; and the Olin Graduate Fellowship and National Need Fellowship from Washington University.
In addition to her research, Stroud has consistently made time for service to the larger community, including: leading both the NRL Women in Science and Engineering Network and the Edison Sigma Xi Chapter; serving on external review committees for the Materials Division at Argonne National Laboratory, and Doe electron microscopy user facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; serving on the NASA Stardust sample allocation sub-committee; and mentoring emerging women scientists through MentorNet the past six years.
Stroud received a bachelor of art in physics in 1991 from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and doctor of philosophy in physics in 1996 from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. She has amassed well over 100 publications with an h-index of 30, as determined by ISI Web-of-Science.