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2/7/13

Heremans Joins National Academy of Engineering

COLUMBUS, Ohio—From cars to computers, electrical and mechanical devices produce heat that is often wasted.

Ohio State University’s latest faculty member to join the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has made his career out of turning waste heat into something useful: electricity.

Joseph Heremans, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Nanotechnology, was elected to the NAE for “his discoveries in thermal energy transfer and conversion to electricity, and for the commercial devices employed in automobiles.”

Heremans
Joseph Heremans

“We’re delighted that Jos received this honor, and proud to know that he will contribute to the development of federal science and engineering policy at a time when alternative energy is so critical to our nation,” said David Williams, the Monte Ahuja Endowed Dean of the College of Engineering at Ohio State.

Heremans, who is also a professor of mechanical engineering and professor of physics at Ohio State, studies the quantum-mechanical properties of materials in order to understand the link between heat, magnetism, and electric currents at the atomic level.

He and his team are particularly interested in how the choice of atoms that make up a semiconductor influences the spins of electrons that flow through the material and the amount of heat they carry. Most recently, they were able to use what they’ve learned to amplify the voltage produced from a magnetic effect called the spin Seebeck effect—an important first step in making this technology more practical.

Ultimately, Heremans’ work could enable electronic devices that recycle waste heat into electricity. In a computer, his materials could enable heat-powered computation, or, inversely, provide active cooling. In a car, waste heat from the engine could be used to generate meaningful amounts of useful electrical power, and increase fuel economy.

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“Ultimately, Heremans’ work could enable electronic devices that recycle waste heat into electricity.”


As an Academy member, Heremans will advise the federal government on issues of science and engineering. It’s a rare honor; of the 2 million practicing engineers in the United States, only 0.1 percent are members of the NAE.

Members are deemed by their peers to have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Since the NAE was founded in 1964, 14 Ohio State engineers have become members.

Heremans now joins the ranks of: Meyer J. Benzakein, chair and Wright Brothers Institute Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering; Stuart Cooper, University Scholar Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Jose B. Cruz, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Liang-Shih Fan, Distinguished University Professor and C. John Easton Professor of Engineering in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Robert E. Fenton, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering; W. S. Winston Ho, University Scholar Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Robert G. Kouyoumjian, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering; William Marras, professor and Honda Endowed Chair in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, and professor of orthopaedics; Robert A. Rapp, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Paul G. Shewmon, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering;  Robert H. Wagoner, Distinguished Professor of Engineering and George R. Smith Chair in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and professor of mechanical engineering; Marvin White, professor of electrical and computer engineering; and James C. Williams, Honda Professor of Materials in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

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Contact: Joseph Heremans, (614) 247-8869; Heremans.1@osu.edu

Written by Pam Frost Gorder, (614) 292-9475; Gorder.1@osu.edu

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