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Gast elected AAAS Fellow

Lehigh President Alice P. Gast has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific organization.

Gast, a member of the AAAS board of directors, is being honored “for outstanding contributions to polymer and colloid science through research and book authorship, and for leadership in the profession through the National Academy of Sciences service and university administration.”

She will be presented with a certificate and a blue and gold rosette as a symbol of her distinguished accomplishments at the AAAS annual meeting in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 17.

The honor of being elected an AAAS Fellow dates back to 1874. The AAAS Council bestows the honor on members whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished.”

Gast becomes the fourth AAAS Fellow from Lehigh University. She joins Sharon M. Friedman, professor of journalism and communication, George E. McCluskey, professor of physics, and George D. Watkins, the Sherman Fairchild Professor of Physics, Emeritus.

Before becoming Lehigh’s 13th president in August 2006, Gast served at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the vice president for research and associate provost and held the Robert T. Haslam chair in chemical engineering. Prior to moving to MIT in 2001, she spent 16 years as a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University and at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.

Her work focuses on surface and interfacial phenomena, in particular the behavior of complex fluids. Her areas of research include colloidal aggregation and ordering, protein lipid interactions, and enzymes reactions at surfaces. She is the co-author of Physical Chemistry of Surfaces, a classic textbook on colloid and surface phenomena, and has presented a number of named lectures at the nation’s leading research institutions.

In recognition of her achievements, Gast has garnered numerous awards and honors, including being named a Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering in 2001 and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002. She received the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiative in Research, the Colburn Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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