Eric Wachsman, founding director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2) and Crentz Centennial Chair in Energy Research with appointments in both the Materials Science and Chemical Engineering departments at the University of Maryland (UMD), has been elected president of the Electrochemical Society (ECS) by its 8000 members for a two-year term beginning June 10, 2021.
Since its founding in 1902, ECS has the premier international scientific society focused on advancing electrochemical science and technology, with members ranging from Thomas Edison to the 2019 Nobel Prize winners John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino for the invention of the lithium-ion battery. ECS members are leaders in fields ranging from the development of batteries and fuel cells, to the science of corrosion and electrodeposition, to advancing semiconductor, dielectric and photonic materials and devices. The society encourages research, discussion, analysis and dissemination of knowledge in these fields by holding meetings, publishing scientific papers, and fostering ongoing education and cooperation among a diverse group of scientists and engineers as a means of accelerating scientific discovery and innovation.
Indeed, Dr. Wachsman brings with him a profound knowledge of electrochemical energy technologies. Prior to his tenure at UMD, he served as the Rhines Chair Professor in Materials Science at the University of Florida and a Senior Scientist at SRI International. Wachsman received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from Stanford University in 1990, and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. His research is focused on solid ion-conducting materials and electrocatalysts, including the development of solid state batteries, solid oxide fuel cells and electrolysis cells, ion-transport membranes, and solid state gas sensors, with over 270 publications and 35 patents/patent applications. To date, three companies have been founded based on these technologies.
Moreover, Wachsman continues to contribute to the next generation of electrochemists having graduated 34 Ph.D. and 30 M.S. students, supervised 38 postdocs and research scientists, and mentored several junior faculty members; of these, three have gone on to receive ECS awards. At the Universities of Florida and Maryland, Wachsman founded and served as faculty advisor for the ECS student chapters with the Maryland Chapter winning Outstanding ECS Student Chapter Awards in 2013 and 2017, and ECS Student Chapter of Excellence in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Wachsman has been an ECS Fellow since 2008 and is also a fellow of the American Ceramic Society (2012) as well as an elected member of the World Academy of Ceramics (2017). He received the 2017 ECS Carl Wagner Award, the 2014 Sir William Grove Award (International Association for Hydrogen Energy), 2014 Pfeil Award (Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining), the 2012 Fuel Cell Seminar Award, and the 2012 ECS High Temperature Materials Division Outstanding Achievement Award.
Wachsman joined ECS as a graduate student in 1989 where he presented a paper in the first International Symposia on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC-I). He quickly became active in ECS, organizing 16 symposia (he is currently the lead organizer for SOFC-XVII, July 2021), and served on numerous ECS committees. He rose through the ECS High Temperature Materials Division (now H-TEMP) Executive Committee, chairing the division in 2006, and continued to chair Society committees (including the ECS Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Subcommittee) through his election as ECS Vice President in 2018. Wachsman also served on the ECS Board of Directors from 2006-2007, and from 2013 through today.
"We live in a rapidly changing world with major societal issues such as the availability of affordable and sustainable energy, clean water and air, food, and in this last year especially, health," Wachsman said. “The solutions to these issues are at the nexus of science and technology and becoming more electrochemical in nature. Moreover, while ECS is not a political organization and will not take a political stance, it should as part of its vision advocate for use of the best available scientific knowledge in the development of government and industry policy. I am honored to serve as president of the Electrochemical Society and it is my intent through this opportunity to provide the best possible benefits to our members and the global society as a whole."
June 10, 2021