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Two PNNL researchers named American Physical Society Fellows

December 13, 2012 Share This!

  • The American Physical Society is inducting two PNNL researchers as fellows, bringing the number of APS Fellows at PNNL to 11.

  • Wayne Hess

  • Hongfei Wang

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RICHLAND, Wash. – Two scientists from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been named Fellows of the American Physical Society. Wayne Hess and Hongfei Wang were recognized for their "exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise."

APS fellows are nominated by APS members and selected by the APS Council. Fellows are limited to no more than one half of one percent of the society membership, which currently stands at about 50,000.

Hess and Wang will be recognized at the annual APS meeting in March in Baltimore.

Wayne Hess

Hess is known for research on how materials respond to light. These materials can be used to perform chemical reactions driven by light or to convert light into electricity. Some of these materials are based on tiny particles of silver or gold that can absorb light strongly and then use that light efficiently. Hess also develops materials to improve advanced scientific equipment such as synchrotron light sources and high resolution electron microscopes.

Hess regularly mentors post-doctoral fellows and college students, working to engage them in collaborative efforts between theory and experimentation. He has authored or co-authored more than 90 journal articles.

Hess earned a bachelor's degree and doctorate in chemistry from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and a master's degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Hongfei Wang

Wang was recognized for his original contributions to the development of "nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy" — an advanced laser-based method for better understanding the structure and dynamics of chemical systems — and for improving the understanding of how molecules interact with each other and with structures at places where gas, liquid or solids intersect. His research has implications for environmental and biological processes, such as improving protective coatings and controlling drug interactions.

In the past decade, Wang systematically developed the theory and experimental methodology in surface nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy. At EMSL, Wang custom-built the first spectrometer with unprecedented resolution that can characterize surfaces and interfaces in ways never before possible. Together with the theory and methodology he had developed, this instrument provides deeper understanding of chemistry at surfaces and interfaces that are ubiquitous in natural and industrial processes. Such detailed knowledge can lead to building better solar cells and better catalysts for alternative energy.  This new instrument is available to the broad scientific community at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a user facility at PNNL.

Wang earned a bachelor's degree in chemical physics at University of Science & Technology in China, and master's and doctorate degrees in chemistry from Columbia University. Before joining PNNL in 2009, he was a research professor at the Institute of Chemistry in the Chinese Academy of Sciences at Beijing for 10 years.

Hess and Wang join nine other PNNL staff as APS Fellows — Liem Dang, Michel Dupuis, Jean Futrell, Bruce Garrett, Bruce Kay, Greg Kimmel, Greg Schenter, Lou Terminello and Sotiris Xantheas.


The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society headquarters are located in College Park, Md.

Tags: Awards and Honors

EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, is a national scientific user facility sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Science.  Located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., EMSL offers an open, collaborative environment for scientific discovery to researchers around the world. Its integrated computational and experimental resources enable researchers to realize important scientific insights and create new technologies. Follow EMSL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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