On 1 February 2016 Georgetown University (Departments of Chemistry and Physics) was awarded a Professional Research Experience Program (GU PREP-MML), from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The program is led by Peter Olmsted in the Department of Physics, and will begin in summer 2016.  There is strong ISM involvement in this project.

GU PREP-MML will provide for post-doctoral scholars, PhD students, and undergraduate students to undertake training with a strong focus on scientific research in the physical sciences. It allows for funding of up to $7.7M over five years. The PREP program is focused broadly on problems and materials in condensed matter materials, both `hard’ and `soft’. Envisaged research topics include (but are not limited to) solar cells, nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, cement gels, protein and biopolymer gels, flow-induced structuring in soft matter and polymer materials, nanocomposites materials, Raman scattering in polymeric materials, additive manufacturing and 3D printing, protein aggregation and structure in flow, design and measurement of novel gels for industrial application, nanoparticles catalysts for fuel cell applications.

The program will fund Young Scientists in several categories:

  • post-docs working either on the NIST campus in Gaithersburg or at Georgetown University.
  • PhD students who will  spend periods of up to a year or more at NIST. Physics students who are in the Industrial Leadership in Physics Program will be able to hold their year-long apprenticeship at NIST, while Physics and Chemistry students will be able to work for longer periods of their PhD at NIST on topics of mutual interest to NIST and GU scientists.
  • Undergraduate students will typically attend NIST for a semester, and Georgetown will create a new academic internship program with distance learning and research credits. The mix of credits/research/working hours will depend on the interest of the students, but could include a `special topics’ course designed by the student in consultation with NIST and GU scientists. 

The program is a collaboration between the Departments of Physics and Chemistry at Georgetown. Participating faculty members include Professors Blair, Del Gado, Olmsted, Urbach,  van Keuren, and Zhang from Physics, and Professors Kertesz, Tong,  and Weiss from Chemistry.