Peer-Reviewed Distinction

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Rachel Segalman, professor and chair of UC Santa Barbara’s Chemical Engineering Department, has been elected a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the highest grade of membership in the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals. The distinction is awarded to members in recognition of their significant professional accomplishments and contributions in engineering.

“Being elected a fellow of AIChE is meaningful to me because it is a recognition from my peers,” said Segalman, the Edward Noble Kramer Professor of Materials. “I am especially honored and humbled because many of the people who I have been inspired by, collaborated with, and worked alongside during my academic career are AIChE fellows themselves.”

An elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Physical Society, Segalman’s research focuses on controlling the self-assembly, structure, and properties in functional polymers. Structural control over soft matter through microscopic length scales is a key tool for optimizing properties in applications ranging from solar and thermal energy to biomaterials. Her work has provided key insights into the molecular basis for the thermoelectric effect in organic molecules, an essential step to subsequent advances in organic thermoelectrics, a field in which she has emerged as a pioneer through her fundamental advances in the science of molecular thermoelectrics and engineering their design. She has also established important connections between the molecular and mesoscale structure of polymers and their ability to transport electronic and ionic charge, most recently demonstrating superionic conduction in polymers. 

The election came a few months after Segalman received two major awards. First, she received the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award in Condensed Matter for Materials Science, the Department of Energy’s highest scientific honor for mid-career engineers. Segalman was cited for “significant fundamental materials science and engineering contributions to self-assembly and structure-property relationships in functional polymer systems, with specific applications to photovoltaic, thermoelectric, and membrane technologies.” A few weeks later, she received one of AIChE’s most prestigious prizes, the Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering. The annual award recognizes one researcher’s sustained intellectual leadership and significant contributions to the field of chemical engineering. She was recognized for “pioneering studies of functional soft materials including semiconducting block polymers, polymeric ionic liquids, and hybrid thermoelectric materials.” 

Segalman will be recognized for her election and receive the Acrivos Award during AIChE’s Annual Meeting in November. 

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Awards and Accolades