Chemical Engineering Professor Wins National Award For Excellence

July 16, 2001

Christopher Bowman, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been selected to receive the 2001 Allan P. Colburn Award for Excellence in Publications from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

The award, given to one leading researcher under the age of 36 each year, is the most important and prestigious award in the field of chemical engineering, according to chemical engineering department Chair Rob Davis.

A $5,000 prize will be presented with the award at the annual AIChE meeting Nov. 5 in Reno, Nev.

"Since Professor Bowman joined the faculty in 1992, he has been at the forefront of the interface between chemistry and engineering of polymer systems," said Davis, who nominated Bowman for the award. "His research has focused primarily on the structure and properties of cross-linked polymer systems, especially those formed from photopolymerization, and his program is recognized as the leading international laboratory in this area."

Photopolymerization is a reaction that turns liquid material into plastic when the liquid is exposed to ultraviolet or visible light. The technique, which is more efficient and environmentally friendly than other processing techniques, has many potential applications from biomedical engineering to information technology.

The significance and potential of Bowman's research has been recognized with numerous awards, Davis noted, including the American Society of Engineering Education's McGraw Award, the Sloan Research Fellowship, the Materials Research Society's Outstanding Young Investigator Award, the Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the National Institutes of Health FIRST Award and the National Science Foundation's Presidential Faculty Fellowship.

As well as being an outstanding researcher, Bowman is a prolific research investigator, publishing 93 papers in just nine years. A recent study showed his work has been cited 560 times in other research. He also has an outstanding record of teaching and service.

Bowman, 34, received his doctorate in chemical engineering from Purdue University in 1991, and joined the faculty at CU-Boulder the following year. He was promoted to full professor and Gillespie Faculty Fellow in 1999.

Last year, he co-founded the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Fundamentals and Applications of Photopolymerizations, a National Science Foundation center linking the College of Engineering and the CU Health Sciences Center's School of Dentistry.

Co-sponsored by 11 major companies, the center is developing photopolymerizations for a variety of applications including tissue engineering, improved dental restoration materials and fiber optics.

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