Nicholas A. Kotov, Irving Langmuir Distinguished University Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering and Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Chemical Engineering, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The academy honors creative excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas and address issues of importance to the nation and the world.
Kotov’s research focuses on self-organized bioinspired nanostructures. He has authored over 370 articles and 30 patents.
“To say that I am humbled and thrilled by this news would be an understatement. The election to this historic institution is a momentous event for any scholar,” said Kotov. “I am deeply thankful to all my students, postdocs, and collaborators for their enthusiasm and insights about biomimetic nanocomposites. Our long-term team effort resulted in uniquely capable materials addressing the needs of millions of people in energy, health, and shelter. The simplicity of their production made these high-performance composites accessible to every country in the world.”
The academy, founded in 1780 by scholars such as John Adams and John Hancock, is dedicated “to [cultivating] every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.” It is committed to advancing the common good, upholding democratic ideals, elevating the use of evidence and knowledge, fostering deliberative discourse, preserving independence, embracing diversity and inclusivity, and celebrating excellence. Only 13,500 members have been elected since 1780.
Kotov is the second U-M ChE faculty member to be elected to the academy. He joins Sharon Glotzer, the Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering, who was elected to the academy in 2011.
Recent research from Kotov includes a new biologically inspired battery membrane that has enabled a battery with five times the capacity of the industry-standard lithium-ion design. In collaborations with Professor Scott VanEpps from Emergency Medicine and Professor Angela Violi from Mechanical Engineering, he invented biomimetic nanoparticles to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses.
This year he received the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for his “discovery of chiral nanostructures with large amplitude optical activity and establishing chemical principles for their engineering.” In 2021, he was recognized by the Materials Research Society (MRS) with the David Turnbull Lectureship for foundational discoveries in interface-based engineering of self-organizing materials. In 2020, Kotov was inducted to the U.S. National Academy of Inventors for practical implementations of biomimetic nanocomposites.
Kotov received both his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering and his PhD in Chemistry, Reaction Kinetics at Moscow State University. He worked as faculty at Syracuse University, Hamburg University and Oklahoma State University before settling at the University of Michigan as a professor. In 2012, he was named Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Engineering and in 2020 the Irving Langmuir Distinguished University Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering.