Big Science, Big Solutions
We live our lives at an often frantic pace. In the last century, information and technology have boomed around us, and scientific discoveries have changed the way we live. And the science disciplines at Virginia Tech have been there. The College of Science is dedicated to fostering a research intensive environment and giving students a comprehensive foundation in scientific method.
Following are some of the most notable achievements in the College of Science and its departments.
- The College of Science has a faculty member who is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (John Cairns, biology emeritus) and another faculty member who is a member of the equally prestigious National Academy of Engineering (James McGrath, chemistry).
- The college has three faculty members who have received the internationally acclaimed Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (Michael Hochella, Jr., geosciences, Royce Zia, physics, and Scott King, geosciences)
- Five faculty members from the College have been named Virginia Outstanding Scientists since the year 2000 (Neal Castagnoli, chemistry, 2000; David Kingston, chemistry, 2002; John Tyson, biology, 2004; Michael Hochella, Jr., geosciences, 2005; and Robert Bodnar, geosciences)
- One faculty member has received the Lifetime Achievement in Science Award (Duncan Porter, biological sciences 2006)
- The College of Science offers a unique pre-law program that focuses on intellectual property law, one of the fastest growing fields in law.
- An alumnus from the College (Robert C. Richardson B.S. ’58; M.S. ’60 physics) was a Nobel Prize winner.
- Emeritus faculty member and University Distinguished Professor James M. Buchanan Jr., received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1986.
- The college has two Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) - Robert J. Bodnar, Michael Hochella both University Distinguished Professors of Geosciences.
- Shuhai Xiao, professor of geobiology, was recently named a Guggenheim Fellow.
- Virginia Tech’s only two Rhodes Scholars (William W. Lewis ’63 physics; and Mark Embree ’96 math) are both alumni of the College of Science.
- United States Astronaut Roger Crouch received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics from Virginia Tech in 1968 and 1971 respectively.
- David G.I. Kingston, University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, has two plants named in his honor. Taxus kingstonii is a yew tree that grows in India, China and Taiwan. Cordia kingstoniana is a South American tree.
- Since the year 2000, biology undergraduates have been awarded seven Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, two Morris K. Udall Scholarships, and one Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.
- About 35 percent of the more than 200 students receiving a B.S. in Biology each year graduate with some form of honors.
- John Tyson, professor of biology, is a University Distinguished Professor.
- Art Buikema, professor of biology, is an Alumni Distinguished Professor.
- The Department of Chemistry is ranked 29th nationwide in terms of academic research expenditures for the year 2003 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), ahead of chemistry departments in noted research institutions such as Johns Hopkins and Princeton.
- David Kingston and James McGrath, professors of chemistry, are University Distinguished Professors.
- James P. Wightman, professor emeritus of chemistry, is an honorary Alumni Distinguished Professor.
- Nancy Lutz, associate professor of economics, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Performance Award.
- William Brandon Bull, economics class of 2005, was named a Governor’s Fellow.
- The Department of Geosciences has been consistently ranked among the best geosciences programs in the nation for the past 20 years.
- U.S. News and World Report ranked the department’s paleontology and program as number nine in the nation and its earth sciences program as number 28. In 2010.
- One third of the geosciences’ faculty members have won one or more international medals for excellence in science, and four members have had minerals named in their honor.
- Robert Bodnar, professor of geosciences, is a University Distinguished Professor.
- Michael F. Hochella, Jr., professor of geosciences, is a University Distinguished Professor.
- Bodnar and Hochella are also Fellows in the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
- Michael Hochella, Jr., professor of geosciences and University Distinguished Professor Robert Bodnar are both Fellows of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a prestigious nomination in which no more than 0.1 % of the AGU membership may be elected Fellows in any given year.
- U.S. News and World Report ranked the graduate program in applied mathematics in the College of Science 33rd in the country.
- David Erickson, a double major in mathematics and physics, was a Barry M. Goldwater scholarship winner.
- Ezra “Bud” Brown, professor of mathematics, is an Alumni Distinguished Professor.
- Beate Schmittmann, professor of physics, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
- Royce Zia, professor of physics, is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and recipient of the internationally acclaimed Alexander von Humboldt Research Award.
- Colin Hill, physics graduate 1996, was named one of the world’s 100 Top Young Innovators by Technology Review.
- The Ph.D. program in clinical psychology in the Department of Psychology is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science Programs, comprised of the top 40 research-oriented programs in the United States and Canada.
- U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the department’s clinical psychology program 33rd in the nation.
- The clinical psychology Ph.D. program was ranked 7th in research productivity in a recent study of 157 such programs across the nation. The program was ranked 19th in overall research in the same study, scoring ahead of such notable peer institutions as Duke, the University of Virginia, Rutgers, and Penn State.
- Thomas Ollendick, University Distinguished Professor of psychology, was the 10th most frequently published core clinical faculty member among the institutions studied in the above report carried out by the Department of Psychology at Louisiana State University.
- The Department of Psychology is a University Exemplary Department, recognized for effectively linking research with teaching in innovative undergraduate programs.
- E. Scott Geller, professor of psychology, was named one of Virginia’s outstanding faculty members for 2005.
- Scott Geller is also an Alumni Distinguished Professor.
- Thomas Ollendick, professor of psychology is a University Distinguished Professor.
- Ryan C. Smith was one of nine undergraduate students selected to represent Virginia Tech at the first annual ACC Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Conference held at Clemson University in 2006. A psychology major, Ryan’s presentation was titled: “Marketing alcohol-related traffic fatalities: The effects of allowing alcohol companies to target minors in advertising.”
- Virginia Tech is a national leader in the development of undergraduate statistics programs, and the department has a long history of success in the training of professional statisticians.
- The undergraduate statistics program at Virginia Tech has earned the reputation of serving as a model for other programs that have been initiated in the United States during the past two decades.
- Marion Reynolds, professor of statistics, received the Brumbaugh Award of the American Society of Quality in 2005.