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Advincula Named Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry

Rigoberto Advincula

Accolades are nothing new for UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Governor’s Chair Professor of Advanced and Nanostructured Materials Rigoberto Advincula.

A well-recognized figure in the world of polymers, nanomaterials, and materials science, Advincula’s work has been cited around the world by researchers who use the knowledge he has gained to help in advancing new materials and understanding scientific phenomena.

Now, Advincula, personally is gaining one of the top honors in his chosen field, as he has been selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry through their “Leaders in the Field’ program, which identifies individuals for their outstanding contributions to chemistry.

“This is an inspiring moment, as this honor serves as an indication of the importance of our work and as a recognition of our research directions,” said Advincula, whose UT appointment is in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “I am really humbled to have been selected, and I look forward to continuing our exciting research and achieving breakthroughs in a way that reflects well up on the Royal Society.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry is the oldest official group devoted to chemistry in the world, having first been granted a royal charter in 1848.

In the 175 years since, some of the most recognized names throughout the history of chemistry have been members, with the 77 initial ones growing to include more than 54,000 from around the world today.

Being named a fellow of the society is a far more select honor, reserved for those who have impacted their field. Advincula’s work doesn’t just involve developing new polymer materials, but also exploring new methods of characterization, advanced manufacturing, and application of artificial intelligence (AI).

For example, his work on ultrathin film materials and polymers in additive manufacturing has gained much attention. His group investigates surface and nanoparticle phenomena, patterning at the smallest levels, and figuring out ways to scale-up production on a new material with the “best” properties using flow chemistry.

Where his work comes into play is in ultimately finding practical applications in sensors, coatings, and devices. He has been rewarded with a good number of patents and highly cited publications in this arena.

“In the current state of advanced materials, developing new ones isn’t just some trial-end-error enterprise, but one that involves looking at properties and seeing how AI and machine learning enables understanding the behavior of the new material or scaling up production,” said Advincula. “It is often the case that changes even at the smallest, nanoscopic level can eventually have profound results at the macro level. You just need to know where to look or be there at the right opportunity. I extend my thanks to my group and past members who have contributed much to this endeavor”

He said his appointment as a UT professor and a group leader at ORNL’S Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences is both a testament to and enabler of these accomplishments.

Thanks to researchers like Advincula, the future of materials is in good hands.

Advincula Honored as Distinguished Alum

Being named a Fellow of the Royal Society is not the only honor Advincula celebrated in the fall semester.

The University of the Philippines named him a recipient of its 2022 Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award, awarded as a reflection of the value of the research he has done and the breakthroughs he has made that brought about “change to benefit the lives of many” over the course of his distinguished career.

“I was very flattered and felt very humbled and honored when they reached out to let me know that I had been selected for this recognition,” Advincula said. “It serves to validate the career that I have built, one that began during my time as a student at the university. In that way, it’s like coming full circle, back to the place where I started.”

Advincula graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1987.

In addition to his recognition from his alma mater and the Royal Society fellowship, he is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), a Fellow and former chair of the Polymer Chemistry Division of ACS, a Fellow of the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering,  National Academy of Science and Technology Member, Philippines, a past president of the Philippine American Academy of Science and Engineering, and a member of the World Economic Forum advanced materials council, among other accolades.