CHAPEL HILL — Jay Narayan, an N.C. State University materials science and engineering professor, has won the UNC system’s top faculty honor.
On Friday, Narayan received the 2014 O. Max Gardner Award at a meeting of the UNC Board of Governors in Chapel Hill. Established by the will of the former North Carolina governor, the annual award is given to a public university professor in the state who has made the “greatest contribution to the human race.” The award carries a $20,000 cash prize.
Narayan’s work using nanotechnology has led to new high-efficiency LED lighting and the development of sensors that can detect bioterrorist threats or enhance smart grid technology. He also has used nanomaterials for fuel additives that improve efficiency and reduce pollution.
He has published nine books and more than 500 scholarly papers, and he holds 40 U.S. patents. Eight graduate courses based on his research are offered to microelectronics and photonics engineers through an online network.
“We must do more with less. That means we must improve the performance of materials, and our discoveries are key to this paradigm,” he said of his work in high-efficiency materials. “We can lead the state, the nation and the world in this really important endeavor.”
UNC system President Tom Ross said Narayan’s work in nanotechnology has created a new wave of materials that have conserved the world’s dwindling resources.
“How can you see that and not feel good about our university?” Ross asked.