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Penn State Chemistry Professor Wins Humboldt Research Award

A Pennsylvania State University professor has won the Humboldt Research Award for his work in the field of synthetic chemical motors and active matter.

Ayusman Sen, a distinguished professor of chemistry at Penn state, received the award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany, which provides grants to nearly 100 internationally renowned academics across all disciplines to spend up to one year with colleagues at a research institution in Germany and to collaborate on long-term research projects. The award is named after the late Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt.

Sen, who received his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1978, is currently researching how nano- and micro-scale objects can generate chemically-powered motion to move on their own or to act as fluid pumps.

“Sen’s current research focuses on developing new ways to engineer dynamic materials at the molecular level that are capable of transforming themselves, as well as their equally dynamic environments,” the school said in a release.

Sen joined the faculty of the Penn State Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor in 1979. He went on to become a distinguished professor of chemistry in 2010.

Sen, who is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of Chemistry, has received additional honors and awards in the past, including the Langmuir Lecture Award from the American Chemical Society in 2019, the Chemical Research Society of India medal in 2011, and a Faculty Scholar Medal from Penn State in 2003, among others.

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