Rice University’s Naomi Halas Elected to Prestigious Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters

Naomi Halas, University Professor at Rice and a pioneering researcher in the fields of nanophotonics and plasmonics, has been elected a fellow of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

The Academy elected her a corresponding member of the Class of Natural Sciences in recognition of her “academic excellence.” At Rice, Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and holds joint appointments in biomedical engineering, chemistry, and physics and astronomy.

She has served as director of the Smalley-Curl Institute and is the founding director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics. In 2023, Halas was named University Professor, Rice’s highest academic rank.

As a researcher in the development of light-activated nanoparticles, Halas is the first Rice faculty member to be elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering for research done at the university. Her discoveries have applications in cancer treatment, optoelectronics, photocatalysis, chemical sensing, solar-powered distillation and steam production, and off-grid water treatment.

According to Google Scholar, Halas’ publications have been cited more than 127,000 times, her H-index is 169, and she is consistently ranked among the world’s most highly cited researchers. She received her Ph.D. in physics from Bryn Mawr College in 1987 for research performed at IBM Yorktown, and after a postdoctoral fellowship at AT&T Bell Laboratories, she was in the first wave of faculty recruited to Rice by the late Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley to explore the frontiers of nanotechnology.

She is a fellow of nine professional societies, including the American Physical Society (APS), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2019 was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Earlier this year she was awarded the 2024 Mildred Dresselhaus Prize for Nanoscience/Nanomaterials from the APS.

The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, founded in 1742, has approximately 250 Danish members and an equal number of international members. Nine new members of the Class of Natural Sciences are elected annually.