Maker of self-healing materials gets royal honor
Marek Urban of Clemson University was admitted to The Royal Society of Chemistry as a Fellow, an honor that he said will raise the university’s international profile and help his graduate students find jobs.
Urban, the J.E. Sirrine Foundation Endowed Chair and Professor, is developing new self-healing materials that are able to respond to external stimuli, such as sunlight, humidity, or other environmental changes. His research, for example, could lead to car paint, contact lenses, medical implants, and cell phone screens that heal their own cracks and scratches.
The society is the United Kingdom’s leading professional body for chemistry professionals, with more than 54,000 members. Fellows “hold positions of influence in the community and have invaluable experience, expertise and commitment to promoting the value of chemical science,” according to the society.
“I look at this honor as an accomplishment of my entire research group,” Urban said. “It’s a long pathway to get where we are. Hopefully, we contributed to the society, to the community, to the university, to the state, to the nation and to the world in a positive way. It’s more of a recognition that we, as well as the other Fellows, are doing something good for humanity.”
Rajendra “Raj” Bordia, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, congratulated Urban on being named Fellow.
“This is a well-deserved, significant international recognition,” Bordia said. “Dr. Urban has made pioneering contributions to polymer and macromolecular science.”
The honor recognizes the high-level scientific contributions of Urban and the students and postdoctoral researchers working with him, Bordia said.
It’s the latest honor for Urban, who last year became Fellow of two separate organizations, the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering.
“These honors are good for the students and for placing Clemson on the map,” he said. “Clemson used to be a regional school, and now it’s a national school. Let’s take it to the international level. Hopefully, this is one piece of the puzzle that can get us there.”
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said that Urban is richly deserving of Fellow status.
“This honor is a reflection of the level of scholarship that Dr. Urban brings to Clemson and the impact he has had on his profession,” he said. “I wholeheartedly congratulate him.”