Four Pratt Faculty Among “Most Highly Cited”

Four Pratt-affiliated faculty members made the cut for Thomson Reuter’s “Highly Cited Researchers 2015.” They are David Smith and Ingrid Daubechies of the electrical and computer engineering department and Heather Stapleton and Mark Wiesner of the civil and environmental engineering department.

The list is published annually by Thomson Reuters and includes about 3,000 researchers, who earned the distinction by writing the greatest number of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as Highly Cited Papers. This shows the exceptional impact of those on the list, as they are among the top one percent most cited for their subject field and year of publication.

David Smith, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, publishes papers on metamaterials—a class of materials that combines two or more materials in unique, repetitive ways to give materials unnatural properties. He has been at the forefront in developing numerical methods to design and characterize these metamaterials, and conducted key experiments that have illustrated their potential—including the first demonstration of a metamaterial with negative refractive index in 2000, and the first “invisibility cloak” in 2006.

Ingrid Daubechies, the James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics and professor of electrical and computer engineering, is one of the foremost mathematicians in the world, noted for developing mathematical constructs called wavelets, which led to image compression standards now widely used in formats such as .jpg2000s, and others. Her work has also made significant contributions in the areas of signal processing, quantum mechanics, discrete geometry and applied mathematics.

Mark Wiesner, chair of the civil and environmental engineering department, focuses on membrane processes, nanostructured materials, transport and fate of nanomaterials in the environment, colloidal and interfacial processes, and environmental systems analysis. For example, in 2010 he helped demonstrate that nanomaterials accumulate in living organisms and can become more concentrated the further up the food chain they go, revealing the potential impacts nanotechnology could have on the environment.

Heather Stapleton, the Dan and Bunny Gabel Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Environmental Management and associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, tries to understand the transformation and eventual fate of organic contaminants in aquatic systems and in indoor environments. Her main focus has been on the bioaccumulation and biotransformation of brominated flame retardants. Her current research projects explore the routes of human exposure to flame retardant chemicals and examine the ways these compounds are photodegraded and metabolized.