February 4, 2011
Physics Professor Sara Majetich is changing the face of data storage through her research on the fundamental physics of nanoparticles — and people are taking notice. The teacher, advisor and mentor has earned the 2011 Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence in the Emerging Female Scientist category. The awards, established in 1997, recognize and promote innovation in science and technology across western Pennsylvania. The Emerging Female Scientist Award honors a female leader whose cutting-edge work is inspiring change in math, science or technology.
For Majetich, that work is investigating the underlying physics of magnetic nanoparticles and applying what she learns about those particles to the design of functional materials that have applications in data storage, high-speed electronics and biomedicine. Most notably, she's developed a method that causes nanoparticles to self-assemble into an evenly spaced array critical for creating the next generation of high-density information storage devices.
Majetich has received numerous awards, including the National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and the Eminent Scientist of the Year Award from the International Research Promotion Council. In 2007 she was an IEEE Magnetics Society distinguished lecturer. Most recently, she was named a fellow of the American Physical Society.
In addition to being a leading researcher, Majetich is also a devoted teacher and mentor committed to improving women's participation in science, engineering and mathematics. She has served as research advisor to more than 100 undergraduates since 1990. Her students and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon have recognized her dedication with the Mellon College of Science's Julius Ashkin Award for Teaching and the university's Academic Advising Award.
Majetich will receive the award at a banquet on May 6.