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Professor Jan Genzer Receives the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension


Professor Jan Genzer
Prof. Jan Genzer – Reynolds Award Winner

Dr. Jan Genzer, the S. Frank & Doris Culberson Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is the 35th recipient of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension. The Award, which recognizes a career of excellence in scientific and educational achievements, is the most prestigious award the College of Engineering bestows upon a faculty member.

Originally from the (now) Czech Republic, Prof. Genzer earned his Dipl. Ing. in Materials Science and Chemical Engineering at the Prague University of Chemistry and Technology and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include the behavior of polymers at surfaces, interfaces and in confined geometries, and self-assembly and forced assembly in soft materials. His research efforts encompass experimental approaches, chemical synthesis, and computer simulation/theory.

According to the Web of Science web site, Prof. Genzer is the author or co-author of more than 300 research works with over 13,000 citations, and he’s the author or co-author of 11 book chapters. A compilation of some of Prof. Genzer’s research accomplishments, including a few of the 27 journal covers associated with his work, is available here.

As a research mentor, he has advised or co-advised 40 Ph.D. graduates and 10 post-doctoral researchers. Undergraduate and graduate student members of his research group routinely win awards and prizes for their technical posters and presentations.

Not content to be a lone-wolf researcher working in isolation, Prof. Genzer has collaborated, or proposed to do so, with 12 of the 30 other current CBE faculty members, and with three faculty members who are no longer with the department. He also interacts regularly with a wide net of collaborators across the world.

Genzer is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and a recipient of their John H. Dillon Medal.  He’s also the recipient of the National Science Special Creativity Award. At NCSU he’s a past recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award, the Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award, the Alumni Association Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award, the Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award, and the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award, to name a few.

Although Genzer always aspired to become a physicist, serendipity led him to study engineering.  And he never regretted this career move.  He likes to hike in Umstead park, reads books of all sorts (ranging from history, mystery, fiction – not sci-fi, though; he is too much of an engineer who questions what is real and what is a non-sense and can thus turn a serious sci-fi movie into a comedy).  He likes to learn about various cultures while traveling the world.  And of course, as every Czech-born person, he enjoys a tasty “brewski” Pilsner.

The Award ceremony and Prof. Genzer’s talk, “A Voyage from Flatland to the Flatterland, and the Highlands in Soft Matter”, were held on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. A YouTube video of Jan’s talk is available here (you’ll need to turn up the volume on your computer).

Congratulations Professor Genzer, for this well-deserved honor!