Engineering professor named fellow of international society


By Gabrielle Stewart

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Slava V. Rotkin, Frontier Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics with an appointment in the Materials Research Institute, was named a 2021 fellow of the Electrochemical Society (ECS). He will be honored at the 240th ECS Meeting, held Oct. 10-14 in Orlando, Florida.

Fellows are recognized for their technical contribution and involvement in ECS activities. Up to 15 fellows are selected each year from a pool of ECS members nominated by at least three member sponsors.

“ECS is delighted to confer the distinction of fellow on Professor Rotkin,” said Chris Jannuzzi, chief executive officer of ECS. “In addition to his outstanding technical contributions to the theory of nanocarbons and two-dimensional materials and devices, Slava is a tireless advocate for science, ensuring both academic and industrial stakeholders understand, value and support advancements in the field.”

Rotkin’s contributions to the field include an exploration of van der Waals forces, intermolecular attraction and repulsions influenced by surrounding particles, and other phenomena arising from quantum mechanics in nanoelectromechanical systems; studies on the quantum capacitance of carbon nanotubes; and theoretical investigations paving the way for formulations on heat tunneling in nanotube-based devices, which involves heat dissipation breaking from classical statistical mechanics to move in the quantum realm.

Rotkin has been involved with ECS since he was a graduate student studying optoelectronics at Ioffe Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia. As an ECS member, he joined the ECS Nanocarbons (NANO) Division, going on to serve at various points as division secretary, vice chair, chair and treasurer. He has established new symposia series and co-organized 24 society meetings. Most recently, Rotkin served as a member of the ECS Board of Directors, as well as treasurer and senior advancement officer of the NANO Division.

Rotkin has advised more than 60 undergraduate students, 30 graduate students and 10 postdoctoral fellows. Throughout his career, he has aimed to pay forward the guidance of his mentors.

“Throughout my education, starting with research work in high school, many important mentors started me down this path,” Rotkin said. “I can’t pay them back, so I mentor others instead. I got a spark of science from those leaders, and I hope to transfer it to the young students in my lab.”

Founded in 1902, ECS has a mission to advance theory and practice at the forefront of electrochemical and solid-state science and technology. More than 8,000 members are active in nearly 90 countries.


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Slava Rotkin was named a fellow of the Electrochemical Society for his contributions to research in nanocarbons and two-dimensional materials as well as his service to the society. IMAGE: PENN STATE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING