John Newman Wins Acheson Award

May 20, 2010

John Newman, a UC Berkeley Professor of Chemical Engineering, and scientist in EETD in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been selected to receive the prestigious Acheson Award by the Electrochemical Society. This award will be given to Newman at the next meeting of the Society, in Las Vegas during the week of October 10, 2010.

Newman's greatest contribution to the "objects, purposes or activities of The Electrochemical Society" (the definition of the Acheson Award, as spelled out below) has been his seminal approach to the analysis and design of electrochemical systems. Starting in the 1960s and continuing to this day, Newman has not only clarified the physicochemical laws that govern the behavior of electrochemical systems, he has also demonstrated how to use these laws to correctly formulate and solve problems associated with batteries, fuel cells, electrolyzers, and related technologies. His sophisticated approach to mathematically analyze complex electrochemical problems has been universally accepted by the academic and industrial communities, to the extent that it is now commonly referred to as "The Newman Method."

In addition to his UC Berkeley post as a Faculty Senior Scientist, Newman is Principal Investigator in EETD, and Director of the DOE Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies program. He is the author or co-author of more than 390 technical publications, numerous plenary and invited lectures, and the book Electrochemical Systems, which is now in its 3rd edition and is used throughout the world as a monograph and graduate text in electrochemical engineering. Professor Newman has mentored many graduate students, as well as post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists.

The Edward Goodrich Acheson Award of The Electrochemical Society was established in 1928 for distinguished contributions to the advancement of any of the objects, purposes or activities of The Electrochemical Society, and it is awarded not more frequently than biennially. It includes a gold medal, and a prize of $10,000. It is named for Edward Acheson, a U.S. inventor best known for the invention of the highly effective abrasive material carborundum (silicon carbide). Acheson also helped develop the incandescent lamp.

Beside the Acheson Award, John has received nine other awards from the Electrochemical Society. He also was recognized as a Highly Cited Author, as identified by Thomson ISI. During 2002, he was an Onsager Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim; and in 1999 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

The Acheson is arguably the most prestigious award that an electrochemical scientist could hope to attain, short of a Nobel Prize or a National Medal of Science. The late Professor Charles W. Tobias (in 1972) is among those who have received the Acheson Award, and he the only other member of the Berkeley electrochemical community to be so recognized.


Frank McLarnon