Thomas Russell is the winner of the 2016 American Chemical Society Award in Applied Polymer Science.
Russell is the Silvio O. Conte Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Russell joined the University of Massachusetts as an associate professor in 1996 and was promoted to full professor in 1997.
Russell received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Boston State College in 1974 and a Ph. D. in Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1979. His thesis work, under the direction of Prof. Richard S. Stein focused on the use of x-ray, light and neutron scattering to probe the morphology of polymer mixtures. Following his doctoral studies, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Universität Mainz with Prof. Erhard W. Fischer in the Institut für Physikalische Chemie from 1979-81, where he investigated relaxation behavior of polymer glasses using quasi-elastic and Brilluoin scattering and elastic neutron scattering from concentrated polymer mixtures. From 1981-1996 Russell was a Research Staff Member at the IBM San Jose Research Center, now the IBM Almaden Research Center, where he employed x-ray, neutron and light scattering methods to understand the surface and interfacial properties of polymers used as dielectric insulators, in flat panel displays and lubricants for disk drives. During his tenure at IBM, Russell developed the use of grazing incidence scattering and diffraction to probe the surface properties of polymers, neutron reflectivity and dynamic secondary ion mass spectroscopy to depth profile polymers with unprecedented spatial resolution, and the use of soft x-ray scattering, reflectivity and near edge spectroscopies to probe the chemical functionality of polymer surfaces. Also, with Craig Hawker, now at UCSB, Russell developed strategies to precisely tune interfacial interactions leading to the control of the orientation of block copolymers, now used as templates and scaffolds for the fabrication of nanostructured materials, including low dielectric constant insulators and magnetic memory.
At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Russell continued his studies on controlling the orientation and long-range lateral ordering of block copolymers and the use of block copolymers to fabricate nanostructured materials. His research interests include the surface and interfacial properties of polymers, phase transitions in polymers, directed self-assembly processes, the statics and dynamics of interfacial assemblies of nanoparticles, the jamming of nanoparticle assemblies to structure fluids and the response of the assemblies to external stimuli, the influence of supercritical fluids on phase transitions, dynamics in polymer thin films, the wrinkling, crumpling and folding behavior of thin polymer films, and polymer-based photovoltaic materials.
Russell was the Director of a NSF-supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center from (1996-2009) and the Director of the DOE-supported Energy Frontier Research Center on Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy (2009-2014). He is a lead PI in the WPI-Advanced Institute of Materials Research at Tohoku University (2007-present), the Global Research Laboratory at Seoul National University (2005-2015) and an Adjunct Professor in Materials Science at Gwangju University. He currently is a Visiting Faculty Scientist in the Materials Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Materials Research Society, Neutron Scattering Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, Polymer Materials Science and Engineering Division, and an Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society. He has received the Polymer Physics Prize of the APS, the Cooperative Research Award of the ACS, the Dutch Polymer Award, Doctor Honoris Causa, Universite Catholique Louvain, Otto Warburg Prize, University of Bayreuth and is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. He holds 21 patents and has published over 675 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Russell is an Associate Editor of Macromolecules and serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics, Soft Matter, Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, Polymer and MRS Communications.