Published: Feb. 10, 2021 By ,

Chris Bowman
Distinguished Professor Christopher Bowman

Distinguished Professor Christopher Bowman of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at CU Boulder has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to engineers.

He was elected in an elite group of 106 new members and 23 international members of the class of 2021, announced on Tuesday.

“I am honored to be elected as a member and truly grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with an exceptional group of students, post-doctoral scholars and collaborators here at CU,” Bowman said. “My election to the academy recognizes the value and significance of their contributions to the field.”

Selection for the National Academy of Engineering signifies a member’s outstanding achievements in engineering research and education, whether in established fields or emerging technologies.

Bowman was chosen for his innovations related to photopolymerization, a process that uses light to trigger reactions that form new polymers. These polymers are used for an array of medical and technological applications, such as 3D printing, dental fillings, medical devices and augmented reality displays.

“This is a culminating career recognition for one of our most distinguished colleagues,” said interim Dean Keith Molenaar. “Many within our CU community know Professor Bowman for his inspiring teaching and extraordinary service over the years. The college, along with all of his current and former students and mentees, will celebrate this remarkable achievement with Professor Bowman.”

Bowman joins 13 other CU engineering faculty members elected to the national academies, including Science, Medicine and Engineering. This is Bowman’s second national academy membership, having been elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2018.

“Professor Bowman has had a tremendous impact on both our department and on the broader field of chemical engineering,” said Will Medlin, chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. “His pioneering discoveries in photopolymerizations and related areas have advanced fundamental science and led directly to products that have improved people’s lives. Professor Bowman is an inspiration to me and the other faculty and students here at CU. His selection for the National Academy of Engineering is well-deserved.”

Bowman joined the College of Engineering and Applied Science in 1992 as an assistant professor and has since served as chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, associate dean for research and founding director of the Materials Science & Engineering program. He also holds courtesy appointments in the departments of chemistry and biochemistry at CU Boulder and serves as a clinical professor of dentistry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Since 2000, Bowman has co-directed the NSF-funded Center for Fundamentals and Applications of Photopolymerizations.

He earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Purdue University.

Bowman and other newly elected members will be formally inducted into the National Academy of Engineering on Oct. 3.

Also selected were CU Boulder alumni Nick Hazen, a 1980 graduate in chemical engineering, and Hao Huang, who earned a PhD in electrical engineering in 1987. Hazen, the president and CEO of Hazen Research Inc. in Golden, was nominated for “leadership in the commercial development of hydrometallurgical processes for recovering metals from ores.” Huang, retired technology chief of General Electric Aviation in Dayton, Ohio, was nominated for “contributions to advances in electric machines and power electronics technologies for aerospace electrical systems.”