Dr. Lyon B. King
wins Presidential Award
From Tech Topics, Michigan News Bureau and Office of Science and Technology Policy
Assistant Professor L. Brad King (MEEM) traveled to Washington, DC, this
week to accept a 2003 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and
Engineers at the White House.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz,
right, and on the left, John Marburger, III, Director, Office
of Science and Technology Policy for the President with
Dr. Lyon B. King
is among 60 faculty members selected from U.S. colleges and
universities to receive a Presidential Award, which is the highest
honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists
and engineers at the beginning of their careers. The recipients
are chosen by the White House from among nominees selected by
the top U.S. research agencies, including NASA, the Department
of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the National
Institutes of Health. King's name was put forward by the Department
of Defense. All nominees have received their PhD degrees within
the last five years.
As part of the Presidential
Award, King receives a five-year, $500,000 grant to continue his research
on very-high-powered ion engines, which could be used for manned Mars
missions or ambitious robotic space science missions.
Ion propulsion engines
currently rely on xenon gas for fuel. However, xenon's pricetag-about
$3,200 a pound-gives new meaning to the cliche "skyrocketing energy
is experimenting with an alternative fuel that could slash the cost
of ion propulsion. The white, brittle metal bismuth goes for about
$3.60 a pound, is much easier to handle and store, and could reduce
the cost of developing a manned mission to Mars by a factor of 200
over conventional xenon engines.
"Not only is
bismuth a lot cheaper, it actually works better," King said. "It's
also easier to use and more efficient. People have known this for a long
time, but the technology to implement it hasn't existed until now."
The critical system
that enables bismuth to be used as a propellant was developed by King
at MTU; a patent is pending.
King, a 1989 graduate
of Calumet High School, joined the Michigan Tech faculty in 2000. Along
with other President Award recipients, he will be honored at an award
ceremony Thursday, Sept. 9, and will tour the White House on Friday, Sept.
The White House announced
September 9, 2004 the recipients of the 2003 Presidential Early Career
Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the nation’s highest
honor for professionals at the outset of their independent research careers.
Fifty-seven researchers were honored in a ceremony presided over by John
H. Marburger III, Science Advisor to the President and Director of the
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The Presidential Early Career
Awards for Scientists and Engineers, established in 1996, honors the most
promising beginning researchers in the nation within their fields. Eight
federal departments and agencies annually nominate scientists and engineers
at the start of their careers whose work shows the greatest promise to
benefit the nominating agency’s mission. Participating agencies
award these beginning scientists and engineers up to five years of funding
to further their research in support of critical government missions.
In addition the 2003
PECASE award, Professor King received the prestigious 2004 NSF CAREER
Award. The title of the research is "Electron Fluid Dynamics in a
Hall-effect Accelerator", with a total project value of $602,000.
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a NSF-wide activity
that offers the NSF's most prestigious awards for new faculty members.
The Award states that "The CAREER program recognizes and supports
the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who
are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century."
Office of Science and Technology Policy
OSTP in 1976 with a broad mandate to advise the President and others
within the Executive Office of the President on the impacts of science
and technology on domestic and international affairs. The 1976 Act
also authorizes OSTP to lead an interagency effort to develop and
to implement sound science and technology policies and budgets and
to work with the private sector, state and local governments, the
science and higher education communities, and other nations toward
this end. The Director of OSTP serves as co-chair of the President’s
Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and oversees the National
Science and Technology Council on behalf of the President. For more
information visit www.ostp.gov.
Link to Ion
Space Propulsion Lab website