Montana State University

Historian, nanotechnology pioneer honored at MSU

September 12, 2008 -- From MSU News Service


Historian Billy Smith is one of two new Letters and Science Distinguished Professors at Montana State University. (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham).   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
BOZEMAN -- A professor who specializes in early American history and a pioneer in the field of nanotechnology have been appointed Letters and Science Distinguished Professors at Montana State University.

Historian Billy Smith and chemistry professor Trevor Douglas will carry the title for three years. They were chosen for their contributions to the College of Letters and Science, MSU and the scholarly community at large, said Paula Lutz, dean of the College of Letters and Science.

A reception in their honor will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, in the Leigh Lounge in the Strand Union Building. Smith and Douglas will give public lectures sometime during this academic year.

Smith, who has taught in MSU's Department of History and Philosophy since 1981, is an accomplished academic who excels as a teacher and researcher, said department head Brett Walker. Smith has an exceptional record of publication and helped redesign the core courses required of all students at MSU. His many honors include the James and Mary Ross Provost's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Cox Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, the Wiley Award for Research, and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society and the American Council of Learned Societies. Smith has published eight books, including a major encyclopedia of early American history. He is writing "Ship of Death: The Voyage that Changed the Atlantic World," to be published by National Geographic Books. Smith was recently elected to the prestigious American Antiquarian Society.

Douglas, who joined the MSU faculty in 2001, is internationally recognized for his pioneering research in the field of nanoscience, or the science of controlling matter on an atomic and molecular scale, said David Singel, head of MSU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Douglas received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He did postdoctoral research at Bath University in the United Kingdom. He has published more than 115 scientific papers, and his research is routinely published in the most prestigious journals including "Science," "Nature" and the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science." Douglas has secured several patents and provisional patents for MSU, and has done extraordinary work in fostering collaborative, interdisciplinary research at MSU, Singel said. He is a co-founder and current director of the Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials, and has been involved in 25 funded grants with other MSU faculty. He received the University Merit Award for Research in 1999 and the Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching in 1996.

Evelyn Boswell (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu