K-State Faculty Member Honored by KU for Research Excellence

A Kansas State University physicist is one of four recipients of a research award from the University of Kansas.  Talat Rahman, a K-State university distinguished professor of physics, will receive the Olin Petefish Award for research achievement in the basic sciences. The $10,000 Higuchi award recognizes research excellence by faculty members at Kansas Regents institutions. The award was presented Oct. 2 in the Bruckmiller Room of KU's Adams Alumni Center. Recipients may use their awards for research materials, summer salaries, fellowship matching funds, research assistance or other support. Rahman is a condensed matter theorist who investigates the physics of nano-materials, solid surfaces and interfaces. This work is important for solving technological issues such as thin film growth, new materials development, tailoring of properties of nanomaterials, controlling chararcteristics of catalysis and corrosion. It also is important for the fundamental questions it raises about the nature of the bonding between atoms at surfaces and interfaces and in other regions of low coordination like those on nanocrystals. Rahman is a pioneer in delineating the impact of atomic vibrations on the characteristics of materials. She is recognized world-wide for her contributions in the area of surface dynamics. One area of recent focus is establishing the theoretical framework for multiscale modeling of materials which allow an understanding of the macroscopic properties of materials from information obtained at the microscopic level. Her efforts to model and visualize complex phenomena prompted her to seek funding from the National Science Foundation to expand the scientific and technical computing capability at K-State. The NSF grant and matching funds from the university established K-State's Center for Scientific Supercomputing, a facility for faculty across campus.

Rahman's research programs have been continuously funded by national funding sources throughout her tenure at K-State, beginning in 1983.

Rahman has been an invited scientist at many of the world's most important research labs. Her awards include the UNDP Fellowship and the CNR-Italy Research Fellowship and Alexander Von Humboldt Fellowship. Rahman is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 1998 she received K-State's University Distinguished Graduate Faculty Member Award.

She has published hundreds of research articles, many of which have been accepted by Physical Review Letters, one of the most prestigious of the peer-reviewed publications in the physical sciences. Rahman received K-State's William L. Stamey Teaching Award in 1992. A faculty senator for several years, she is a former president of Faculty Senate. She was instrumental in establishing the K-State Developing Scholars' Program, which aims to enhance the retention and graduation rates of students from historically under-privileged groups. For the past several years Rahman has been funded by the National Science Foundation to organize scientific activities at the international summer college in Nathiagali, Pakistan, on "Frontiers in Physics and Contemporary Needs of Developing Countries." Currently Rahman is serving a three-year term on the executive committee of the Division of Materials Physics, American Physical Society.

Rahman earned her first degrees in physics from Karachi and Islamabad universities in Pakistan and a doctorate in physics from University of Rochester. She served as a postdoctoral research physicist and assistant research physicist at University of California at Irvine before joining the K-State faculty.

The awards were established in 1981 by Takeru Higuchi, KU distinguished professor of chemistry and pharmacy and chair of pharmaceutical chemistry, and his wife, Aya. Higuchi created the award with the stipulation that faculty members at all Kansas regents institutions be eligible. The annual awards are named for people who have worked through the KU Endowment Association to further KU's overall research program.