Zoltan A. Schelly, professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry, has been awarded the 2012 Kerr Medal for his seminal contributions to the field of electro-optics.
Schelly was presented with the award September 5 at the 13th International Symposium on Colloidal and Molecular Electro-optics in Ghent, Belgium. The Kerr Medal, named for Scottish physicist John Kerr, has been awarded only eight times in the past 38 years.
"Thank you. I feel greatly honored by the international electro-optics community," Schelly said upon receiving the award. "I accept the Kerr Medal on behalf of my co-workers - graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at UTA - whose more than two decades of dedicated research and novel contributions are being acknowledged."
Rasika Dias, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said the award was a fitting tribute to Schelly's body of work over the course of his career.
"Dr. Zoltan Schelly is one of the top scientists and an outstanding colleague. He served the chemistry and biochemistry department and UTA well for many years and contributed tremendously to our growth and reputation," Dias said. "It is very nice to see Zoltan honored with the Kerr Medal by the International Advisory Board of the ELOPTO Conference Series for his work on transient electro-optics of soft matter (micelles, reverse micelles, and synthetic vesicles, etc. - and their use for the creation of nano-materials and quantum dots). It is truly a well-deserved honor!"
Added College of Science Dean Pamela Jansma, "I know I speak for everyone in the College of Science in congratulating Dr. Schelly upon his receiving the Kerr Medal. This is truly a remarkable achievement and it attests to the groundbreaking work Dr. Schelly has done in the field of electro-optics. The fact that he is just the eighth person to receive the award speaks to the significance of his contributions."
Schelly joined the faculty of UT Arlington in 1977 and became director of the University's Center for Colloidal and Interfacial Dynamics in 1982. He served as department acting chair from 1990-91. His experimental and theoretical research activities have focused on the dynamics of self-organized systems close to, and far from, thermodynamic equilibrium.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Schelly earned a B.S. in Engineering Chemistry in 1962 and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1967, both from the Vienna University of Technology.
"I chose physical chemistry for its fundamental nature: the combination of mathematics, physics and chemistry, and the possibility of doing both experimental and theoretical research," he said.
Schelly immigrated to the United States as part of the newly established scientist quota in 1968 and took a postdoctoral position working on mass-spectrometric studies of the diffusion of noble gases in primitive