CU-Boulder Engineering Professor Named One Of World's Top 35 Young Innovators

Published: Aug. 19, 2008

Ronggui Yang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been named one of the world's top 35 young innovators in the September/October issue of Technology Review, a magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Known as the TR35, the honored group consists of 35 scientists and technologists under the age of 35 whose work is said to be changing the world in the fields of medicine, computing, communications, electronics, nanotechnology and energy.

Yang, 34, works in the areas of micro- and nanotechnology for energy conversion, thermal management in electronic devices, and nanostructured materials.

"Professor Ronggui Yang is a shining example of the type of outstanding young faculty we have been able to attract here at CU-Boulder," said Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson. "His fundamental work in thermal processes, coupled with his work in energy conversion play an important role in the CU Energy Initiative and will help us define a path forward as we move into the 'new energy' age."

Yang is a key figure in several large research grants to CU-Boulder, including a recently announced $1.5 million contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, to demonstrate new micro- and nanotechnologies that will significantly improve thermal management in electronic devices -- one of the critical constraints on today's consumer and military electronic systems.

He also has an ongoing grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to research energy harvesting and storage systems, including new thermoelectric materials with nanoscale components that could convert waste heat from engines and high-power electronics to boost fuel efficiency.

Yang received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT and joined the faculty at CU-Boulder in January 2006. He is a member of the DARPA Focus Center on Nanoscale Science and Technology for Micro/Nano-Electromechanical Transducers and the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology.

He is the recipient of a DARPA 2008 Young Faculty Award for his innovations in microsystems technology, the International Thermoelectric Society's 2005 Goldsmid Award for research excellence, and a 2004 NASA Certificate of Recognition for technical innovation, among other honors. He has seven patents pending on nanotechnology-enabled energy conversion and thermal management.

The TR35 will be honored at MIT's Emerging Technologies Conference to be held Sept. 23-25 in Cambridge, Mass. Yang has been invited to serve on an energy panel and give an overview of how his research will impact global energy use.

The complete list of this year's TR35 winners can be found at