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June 18: Carnegie Mellon's C. Fred Higgs III Receives ASME's Newkirk Award for Research in Tribology


Chriss Swaney                 

Carnegie Mellon's C. Fred Higgs III Receives
ASME's Newkirk Award for Research in Tribology

higgsPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's C. Fred Higgs III has won the prestigious 2010 Newkirk Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for his cutting-edge research in particle flow related tribology. Tribology, the study of interacting, moving surfaces, is an important field to a variety of industries, including the semiconductor and energy sectors and the biomedical arena.  
Higgs, an associate professor in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, received the Burt L. Newkirk Award, which is given to an individual under the age of 40 "who made a notable contribution to the field of tribology in research or development as evidenced by important tribology publications."
The award, which consists of a $1,000 honorarium and a certificate, will be presented during the 2010 International Joint Tribology Conference Oct. 18 – 20 at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco.
"This is a great honor from my peers, and is a testament to the hard work of my students," Higgs said. "I want to continue to be innovative, mentor students to be humble and flexible researchers, while filling the engineering pipeline with an influx of Ph.D. students."
Nadine Aubry, the Raymond L. Lane Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering and head of CMU's Mechanical Engineering Department, praised Higgs for his research and teaching excellence. "Our academic success is tied very closely to the drive and enthusiasm of our faculty, and Fred is a wonderful example of this university's outstanding collaborative innovative spirit. This award is well deserved," Aubry said.
Higgs is actively involved with the dynamic tribology community. He serves on the ASME Tribology Executive Committee and is an associate editor for both the ASME Journal of Tribology and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineering Tribology Transactions Journal. In addition to being an affiliated professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at CMU, he is organizing the first Particle Tribology Symposium within the International Joint Tribology Conference, and has been an invited speaker at numerous international and domestic conferences.
Higgs is the founder and director of the Particle Flow & Tribology Lab (PFTL) at Carnegie Mellon, which researches new methodologies to predicting the behavior of granular, powder, and slurry flows in sliding contacts. Research in the PFTL has application to the semiconductor, energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, agricultural, space and defense industries.
He also is director of CMU's Sloan Ph.D. Program through which the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provides support to talented U.S. minority Ph.D. students under his advisement. He also is well-known for his online seminar, "The Ph.D., the Whole Ph.D. and Nothing but the Ph.D.," in which he gives a myth-busting, data-driven argument for why talented engineering and science students should seriously consider pursuing a doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
An award-winning scholar and lecturer, Higgs was a 2007 recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award. Earlier this year he was named the Clarence H. Adamson Career Faculty Fellow in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon.
He obtained his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Tennessee State University and his master's degree and Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the areas of thermal fluid science and tribology. Originally from Tallahassee, Fla., he now lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Terese, and six-month-old daughter, Taylor.


Pictured above is C. Fred Higgs III, an associate professor in mechanical engineering.