By Janat Batra
Earlier this month, Krista Walton was announced as one of the eight recipients of the 2020 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award in honor of her contributions to the fields of atomic, molecular and chemical sciences. Walton, associate dean for Research and Innovation in the College of Engineering and Robert "Bud" Moeller Faculty Fellow in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, was honored during a virtual ceremony by the U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette on January 19. Awarded every year, recipients are chosen based on their contributions in research and development supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in science, energy and national security.
Walton’s work lies at the intersection of molecular modeling, chemistry and chemical engineering, identifying physical and chemical factors affecting the chemical stability of sorbents – specifically metal-organic frameworks – for advancing separation science. Her interdisciplinary research of porous material stability under a variety of challenging environments makes Walton a pioneer in her field.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized as an Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award recipient. The implications of understanding the factors that control the stability or instability of porous materials are so important. Our work can be the determining factor in designing successful chemical separations from air purification to carbon dioxide capture from power plants.” — Krista Walton
The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious science and technology awards from the U.S. government. Founded in 1959, the award is meant to honor the memory of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, the inventor of the cyclotron, an accelerator of subatomic particles. Lawrence was named the 1939 Nobel Laureate in Physics for his invention and later helped lead the establishment of the U.S. system of national laboratories. As a recipient, Walton will receive a medal and a $20,000 honorarium.