Cambridge, Mass. -- Harvard engineer Robert J. Wood has been named one of two recipients of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Alan T. Waterman Award.
Wood, an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a Core Member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, shares the honor with Scott Aaronson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The annual award, the NSF's most prestigious honor, recognizes an outstanding researcher under the age of 35 in any field of science or engineering that the NSF supports. In addition to a medal, Wood and Aaronson will each receive a million-dollar grant over a 5-year period for further advanced study.
"Rob Wood's research is an intriguing example of the growing interplay of biology and engineering, as well as the power of university research both to advance our basic understanding of how things work and to envision potential solutions to real-world challenges," said Harvard President Drew Faust. "We're pleased that the NSF has recognized his uncommonly imaginative work."
Wood is founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory, which leverages expertise in microfabrication for the development of biologically inspired robots. His team's project to develop robotic flying insects received an NSF Expeditions in Computing Award in 2009.
A recent aspect of that work resulted in an innovative fabrication technique, inspired by children's pop-up books, which cheaply and efficiently produces electromechanical devices on the scale of just a few millimeters.
"I'm thrilled that Rob Wood has won this prestigious award," said SEAS Dean Cherry A. Murray. "Rob is changing the landscape of biologically inspired microrobot and soft-robot design and control and has invented a completely new mesoscale manufacturing technique."
"Not only does Rob's research sit at the intersection
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