Ellen D. Williams (chemist)

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Ellen Williams
File:EllenDWilliamsDOE2014.jpg
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(1953-12-05) December 5, 1953 (age 66)
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Scientific career
Thesis Studies of chemical adsorption using low energy electron diffraction (1982)
Doctoral advisor William Henry Weinberg
Website
arpa-e.energy.gov?q=about%2Fprofiles%2Fdr-ellen-williams
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Ellen D. Williams (born December 5, 1953 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin) is an American chemist, best known for her research in surface chemistry and nanotechnology, as chief scientist of BP, and for government service as director of ARPA-E.

Early life and education

Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Williams grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan.[1] She attended Michigan State University and received her B.S. in chemistry in 1976. Her graduate studies were at Caltech, where she received her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1981, under the supervision of William Henry Weinberg.[2]

Career

Williams did postdoctoral studies at the University of Maryland under the supervision of R.L. Park from 1981 to 1983. Then promoted to assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, which is part of the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences she advanced to associate professor in 1987, and professor in 1991. She founded the University of Maryland Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and served as its Director from 1996 through 2009. In 2000 she was named Distinguished University Professor.[2]

Williams' research in experimental surface science explores fundamental issues in statistical mechanics, particularly including practical applications to nanotechnology. Her lab makes use of direct imaging techniques including scanning tunneling microscopy.

In 2010, Williams took a leave of absence from UMD to become chief scientist at BP, a position which she held until April 2014. Then, nominated by President Barack Obama to become director of ARPA-E and awaiting Senate confirmation, she became a senior adviser in the office of the Secretary of Energy. She was confirmed on December 8, 2014, and subsequently sworn into her position at ARPA-E.[3]

Awards and honours

in 2016 she was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London.[4]

References