APS News

New Alternative Energy Fellowship Established

By Michael Lucibella

APS has created a new fellowship for young scientists exploring promising research into alternative energy. The Executive Board voted in November to establish the Stanford R. Ovshinsky Sustainable Energy Fellowship using a donation from the family of the late physicist.

Winners of the annual award will receive $15,000 and a travel allowance to receive the award at an APS meeting. The award will be given to young physicists who are within ten years of receiving their PhD. The award committee also will have an eye towards researchers who show an entrepreneurial interest in bringing their research to market.

"It's such a pressing issue," said Rosa Ovshinsky, Stanford's widow and chief technical advisor of China Bridge LLC. "We really need to develop those kinds of carbon-free energy technologies."

Stanford Ovshinsky was an inventor who specialized in developing energy and information technology. He founded Energy Conversion Devices in 1964, which ultimately yielded more than 400 patents in amorphous film nano-structures. This research led to the invention of rewritable CDs and DVDs, as well as most modern silicon solar panels. In 2006 he left ECD and founded two new companies, Ovshinsky Innovations LLC to pursue information technology and Ovshinsky Solar, which specializes in alternative and renewable energy research. Ovshinsky passed away in 2012.

"He was such an extraordinary person, just a great human being, and I really wanted to do something in memory of him that was meaningful," Rosa Ovshinsky said. "He deserved to have some kind of legacy."

The Topical Group on Energy Research and Applications will likely issue a call for nominations sometime in mid-2014, with the first fellowship awarded in 2015.

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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Michael Lucibella
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