Students Win 3rd Place in Undergraduate Poster Competition (Sponsored by Omega Chi Epsilon)


Eight UVa Engineering students, under the direction of Dr. Norris, were recognized for their materials science project, “The Variation of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Growth Parameters and the Differences in Observed Physical Properties.” They received Third Place in the Undergraduate Student Poster Competition at the American Institute for Chemical Engineers 2016 Annual Student Conference in San Francisco, CA.


LeighAnn Larkin Presents at 5th International School on Lasers in Materials Science


This summer, LeighAnn Larkin travelled to Venice, Italy to give a talk at the 5th International School on Lasers in Materials Science. She presented her work on Temperature dependent thermal boundary conductances at metal/In-based III-V Interfaces.


The Norris Research Group Presents Papers at First Pacific Rim Thermal Engineering Conference in Hawaii


Pamela Norris was an invited speaker at The First Pacific Rim Thermal Engineering Conference. She presented an overview of her lab’s recent work on high temperature interfacial conductance. Four PhD candidates in Dr. Norris’s lab accompanied her to the conference in Kona, Hawaii to present their research.

  • LeighAnn Larkin presented her work on “Temperature dependent thermal boundary conductances at a series of metal/Indium-based III-V semiconductor interfaces.”
  • Rouzbeh Rastgar presented the results from his most recent publication, Role of Crystal Structure and Junction Morphology on Interface Thermal Conductance, which was published in PRB October 2015.
  • Steven Easter presented his most recent work on our collaborative research the Office of Naval Research in regards to solid-vapor interfaces.
  • Christopher Saltonstall presented his dissertation work on “Raman Measurements of Phonon Scattering and Localization in Sub-Micron SiGe Thin Films.”

PRTEC ’16 website:


Pamela Norris: Pursuit of Research Excellence

Professor Pamela Norris remembers the moment when she truly realized engineering can make the difference between life and death.  Read more:

2015 SEAS Distinguished Faculty Award
Promotion to SEAS Executive Associate Dean of Research

LeighAnn Larkin Presents Paper at the Annual Electronics Materials Conference

June 2015: LeighAnn Larkin travelled to Columbus, Ohio to present her work on long-range chemical ordering and its influence on thermal conductivity in Iron-Palladium alloys at the 57th Annual Electronics Materials Conference.

Another Norris Research Group Graduate Student
Wins Prestigious NSF Fellowship

May 2014: PhD candidate LeighAnn Larkin was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her proposed work on investigating the effect of “Long Range Chemical Order in SiGe alloys for Thermoelectric Devices.” The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program supports and recognizes outstanding graduate students in STEM-based fields. More info can be found at this website:

Research Powerhouse Pamela Norris Promoted to SEAS Executive Associate Dean of Research

Dean Craig Benson aims to double the research funds the School of Engineering receives each year, increase the average research funding per faculty member, and focus on interdisciplinary research. The leader he has tapped to help achieve these ambitious goals is a powerhouse researcher herself: Professor Pamela Norris, Frederick Tracy Morse Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and new Executive Associate Dean for Research.

Read the whole story

Dr. Norris Program Director of NSF ADVANCE 

The goal of the NSF ADVANCE Program is to increase the participation of women in the academic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and social, behavioral and economic (SBE) science careers. To learn more about this exciting program and Dr. Norris’ work, visit the UVa ADVANCE Web site.

MAE Graduate Student Attends Pan American Workshop
on Computational Materials Science for Energy in Chile

MAE Graduate student Nam Le traveled to Santiago, Chile for a workshop on Computational Materials Science for Energy (CMS4E). Graduate students and post-docs from both North and South America participated in the two-week workshop, which included lectures from experts as well as hands-on tutorials. Participants learned to use computational techniques including first principles calculations, molecular dynamics simulations, and finite element methods to address current energy-related problems in battery design, photonics, thermoelectrics, piezoelectrics, and more. Nam also presented his work on interfacial phonon scattering into multiple states. The workshop was supported by the Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute (PASI) program at the National Science Foundation, and organized by faculty and researchers from the United States, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. For more information, please see the organizers’ website at

MAE PhD Students Study and Present Papers
at Venice International University, Italy

July 2012 MacKenzie R. Siden-Redding and Justin Smoyer traveled to Venice Italy for the 3rd International School: Lasers in Materials Science on the Isola di San Servolo, home to Venice International University. The school was directed by Marta Castillejo of the Instituto de Química Física Rocasolano, CSIC, in Madrid Spain, Wolfgang Kautek of the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, Paolo M. Ossi of the Dipartimento di Energia, Politecnico di Milano in Milano, Italy, and Leonid V. Zhigilei of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville Virginia, USA. The school provided PhD students and young research scientists with an opportunity to learn more about the interactions of lasers and materials and provide fundamental roots that are otherwise missed in traditional programs, while providing interactions opportunities with other researchers and colleagues working in similar, yet diverging fields. Justin presented work on the Local modification of phonon properties at solid-solid interfaces and the effect on thermal transport and MacKenzie presented work on Phononic Properties at Interfaces Below, Near, and Above the Debye Temperature. For his exceptional work and presentation MacKenzie was awarded 1st place among young PhD candidates in the schools poster competition in memory of Roger Kelly.

MAE Students Receive Prestigious NDSEG Fellowships

Several students  in the mechanical and aerospace research labs have been awarded the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship.  Sponsored by the Department of Defense, this prestigious fellowship gives leading students the increased freedom and flexibility to pursue research interests in cutting-edge science and technology.

Nanoscale Energy Transport Laboratory:

  • MacKenzie Sinden-Redding is using Time-Domain Thermoreflectance (TDTR) measurements to experimentally investigate nanoscale thermal transport processes in real material systems. In particular, MacKenzie is studying the thermal transport across interfaces between dissimilar solid materials in an effort to understand the underlying phonon physics. This work is intended to improve the current state-of-the-art of thermal interface materials, thermoelectric devices, micro-electronics, and other nanoscale systems. During this time, MacKenzie is also working with another graduate student (Justin Smoyer) to develop changes to the TDTR facility which will allow for a versatility in data collection that will greatly extend the capabilities of the system.
  • Chris Baker is using molecular dynamics simulation to investigate the fundamentals of phonon scattering in nanoscale material systems.  Christopher plans on using the wavelet transform to extend the capabilities of computer simulation to study the fundamentals of phonon transport in material structures of varying morphology and composition.  Answering fundamental questions on phonon transport will facilitate the design of next generation nanoscale materials with applications ranging from electronics to spacecraft heat shielding.

Aerospace Research Laboratory:

  • Ryan Johnson is using Using High Performance Computing to Model Chemically Reacting Flow Fields.  The focus of this project is on using computers and super clusters to model the physics of multi-dimensional, chemically reacting, fluid dynamics.  The large amount of memory required to track these quantities causes the simulations computationally expensive which is why several computers connected together so that results are produced in a timely manner.  Applications of this research can range from the flames found in hypersonic combustors to the ablation of the space shuttle during re-entry.

Chris Baker presented  “Thermal Rectification for the Enhancement of Heat Transfer” at the ASME 2012 Summer Heat Transfer Conference in Puerto Rico.  

Chris works in the Nanoscale Heat Transfer Lab directed by Associate Dean Pamela Norris.

Abstract of  “Thermal Rectification for the Enhancement of Heat Transfer”:  Presented is an application of thermal rectifiers to the thermal management of ordinary and stacked computer chips. The computer chip is modeled as an array of point heat sources connected by thermally rectifying interfaces. We orient the thermal rectifiers such that heat transport is promoted in the direction of the boundary of the chip. The heat flux from the chip is computed at steady state for a variety of system parameters. Investigated are the effects of the thermal rectification ratio, the device dimensions, and the duty cycle. This approach can be used to spread heat in the lateral dimensions of an ordinary computer chip and greatly increases the heat flux from the stacked configuration.

John Duda Wins the 2011 Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences & Engineering

John Duda, an advanced doctoral student working with Professor Pamela Norris in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at UVa, is the recipient of a 2011 Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences & Engineering. This award recognizes excellence in original scholarship by Ph.D. students at the University.  The scholarship also rewards those students bringing recognition to graduate programs at UVa through their intellect, dedication, creativity, and passion.  The award includes a one-time grant of $5,000.

John is being recognized for the pioneering and innovative research he has conducted in the Nanoscale Transport Lab, which includes modeling and simulation of thermal transport at the nanoscale and within novel material systems, as well as demonstrating new ways to gain control over thermal properties in solid-state systems.  This research has shown promise to fundamentally advance thermal regulation and enhancement of electronic systems.

John has distinguished himself as well as the UVa graduate programs through his numerous and outstanding contributions to his field of research.  During his three and a half years at UVa,  John contributed  to over twenty peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings, as well as a co-authorship for a chapter in a textbook, and he has given two invited lectures.  This includes 11 refereed journal papers accepted or appeared, 5 more in review, and 7 refereed conference papers accepted or appeared.  John also achieved exceptional distinction by being awarded the prestigious and competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.  He is a member of the Raven Society and was the recipient of a Fellowship Enhancement for Outstanding Doctoral Candidates and a Commonwealth Fellowship in Engineering.

John continues to lead ground-breaking research initiatives and collaborative projects, among many other responsibilities, in the Nanoscale Transport Lab.  When asked what he would do with his grant, John said that he would most likely put it toward his honeymoon this summer.

SEAS MURI Award Paves Way for All-Electronic Navy

Aug. 9, 2007 — Two hundred years ago, as fans of Master and Commander know, the power of a warship was reflected in the size of its guns and the weight of it broadside. Today, one of the most important criteria is the sophistication of its electronics. Modern warships are packed with powerful radar, sonar, communications, navigation, and weapons systems that depend on sophisticated integrated circuits and advanced processors. The U.S. Navy now plans to rely completely on electronic systems in its next generation of destroyers, substituting electricity to power the tasks currently assigned to gas turbines, pressurized air, steam, and other means of propulsion. [More]

U.Va. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Women Excel at Home and in the Lab

From left to right: UVa Professors Hillary Bart-Smith, Pamela Norris, and Silvia Blemker.

February 5, 2009 — University of Virginia mechanical and aerospace engineers Pam Norris, Silvia Blemker and Hilary Bart-Smith are rare among their colleagues in the field.

It’s not because Norris is a tenured full professor with six active research projects representing nearly $9 million in funding. Or because Blemker maintains a joint appointment in orthopedic surgery at the U.Va. Medical Center as she explores the clinical applications for computer models of human muscles. And it’s not because Bart-Smith is a Packard Fellow and lead principal investigator for a U.S. Department of Defense Multi- University Research Initiative.

It’s because they are women — women who are successfully pushing the limits of engineering research and teaching while balancing a family life.  [More]

Read more about the University of Virginia Research at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences:

“IMPACT: Aerospace Research Soars”

“IMPACT: UVa Engineering Secures Five MURI Awards”

“Impact: Take Part in Discovery”


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