Anassa Kata
Naomi Halas Ph.D. '87

Naomi Halas, who earned her Ph.D. in physics at Bryn Mawr, has been promoted to University Professor at Rice University. The title signifies the institution’s highest academic rank. She becomes only the 10th person and second woman to earn the title in Rice’s 111-year history.

The announcement from Rice reads in part: “An engineer, chemist, physicist and pioneer in the field of nanophotonics, Halas is the only member of Rice’s faculty elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering for research done entirely at Rice. She joined the university in 1989 following her time at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and leads one of Rice’s largest interdisciplinary institutes, the Smalley-Curl Institute, and one of its largest research groups. Halas held joint appointments in five departments prior to being named University Professor, an at-large appointment that allows her to teach in any academic department.”

On receiving the news, Halas said, “I am so honored to have been named University Professor here at Rice. The tradition of scientific discovery, as exemplified by Rick Smalley and Bob Curl in their discovery of fullerenes, represent the out-of-the-box thinking, beyond disciplinary boundaries, that define this place.”

In addition to her promotion, Halas was recognized in August 2022 with an Eni Award, a prize established in 2007 that has become an international reference point for research in the fields of energy and the environment.

Photo of Naomi Hala
Naomi Halas Ph.D. '87