Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists and Governor’s Award for Science Innovation

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The governor’s office announced Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists of 2015 and the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Science innovation. Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists 2015 are Dr. Mikhail Noginov from Norfolk State University, Dr. Timothy Long from Virginia Tech, and Dr. Purusottam (Puru) Jena from Virginia Commonwealth University. Plugless, by Evatran, was chosen for the Governor’s Award for Science Innovation 2015. Bios are listed below. Winners will receive their awards on Thursday, April 2, at the Science Museum of Virginia.

Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists 2015

Mikhail A. Noginov, Ph.D.
Dr. Mikhail Noginov is a professor and researcher in the Department of Physics and the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University. Dr. Noginov is credited for his cutting-edge research in the areas of Metamaterials, Nanoplasmonics, Random Lasers, Solid-State Laser Materials and Nonlinear Optics. His breakthrough contributions to the research of plasmonics include the demonstration of the compensation of the surface plasmons loss by optical gain, stimulated emission of surface plasmons polaritons and demonstration of the smallest plasmonic-based nanolaser. He is also a leader in exploring metamaterials with hyperbolic dispersion. Dr. Noginov has authored three books, six book chapters and nearly 400 publications and presentations, including 135 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Dr. Noginov was the recipient of Norfolk State University’s 2010-2011 Eminent Scholar and the 2007 Distinguished Faculty Award for Scholarship. He is the current director of the National Science Foundation sponsored Partnership for Research and Education Materials.

Timothy E. Long, Ph.D.
Dr. Timothy Long is Professor of Chemistry at Virginia Tech. Dr. Long’s research focuses on macromolecular science and engineering, touching topics such as ionic liquid-containing polymers; novel cationic polymers for drug delivery for diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and Down Syndrome; and most recently, the discovery of novel materials for 3D printing of electro-active devices. He pioneered the use of in-situ infrared spectroscopy including near- and mid-infrared for the investigation of polymerization processes including both living chain polymerization and step-growth polymerization. Dr. Long discovered novel living anionic and radical polymerization methodologies leading to the formation of unique polymer compositions and architectures. Dr. Long has over 210 scholarly publications in peer-reviewed journals since 1999 and over 50 invention disclosures and patents.

Dr. Long is the recipient of Virginia Tech’s 2010 Alumni Award for Research Excellence. He currently serves as the director of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute.

Purusottam Jena, Ph.D.
Dr. Purusottam (Puru) Jena is Distinguished Professor of Physics at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Jena’s most significant contributions are his seminal works on the theoretical understanding of nanomaterials with potential applications in clean energy, medicine and information technology. He pioneered the concept of “superatoms” which are clusters of atoms with well-defined size and composition. These “superatoms” mimic the chemistry of atoms and can become the building blocks of novel materials with tailored properties. His work covers a wide spectrum including materials for hydrogen storage, gold-coated silica and iron nanoparticles for non-invasive treatment of tumors, functionalized semiconductors for spintronics application, and novel forms of carbon such as three-dimensional metallic carbon and penta-graphene composed of only carbon pentagons. He is credited with 520 publications, including 120 articles published in the past 5 years. He has organized over 50 international conferences and given 425 invited talks at conferences and institutions in 30 countries.

Dr. Jena is the recipient of the 2011 Presidential Medallion from Virginia Commonwealth University and the 2001 recipient for the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia.

Governor’s Award for Science Innovation 2015

Plugless, by Evatran
Evatran developed Plugless, the first wireless electric-vehicle (EV) charging technology on the market.・ The Plugless system consists of a charging station that’s installed in a garage or a driveway, and a receiving device on the undercarriage of the vehicle. Energy is inductively transmitted then converted into electrical current to charge the vehicle when it is parked. No physical connection is needed.

Evatran was founded in 2010 by Rebecca Hough and her engineer father Tom Hough, CEO of Wytheville, Virginia-based MTC Transformers.・ The idea for Plugless wireless EV charging was born from an idea in the MTC workshop.・ Together the Houghs created Evatran, initially a subsidiary of MTC, to research Plugless and build a prototype for the EV industry. A year later, the company spun off as a separate entity with Rebecca as CEO, headquartered in Richmond, VA.・

Evatran and the Plugless system have won several awards for innovation and leadership, having been named Best of What’s New 2014 by Popular Science Magazine, 2013 Richtech Emerging Company of the Year, CEO to 2013 Inc Magazine’s list of 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30, and the 2013 Gold Stevie Award for Most Innovative Company of the Year. Evatran has secured over $3.5M in funding from the Department of Energy to integrate wireless charging technology into GM and Toyota electric vehicles.・ It has also secured $1.25M in research grant funding through the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

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