Professor Patala Wins NSF CAREER Award

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is one of the many ways the National Science Foundation (NSF) honors junior faculty who exemplify the role of “teacher-scholars”. That is, those who are able to provide quality research and excellent education within their respective organizations. More than that, Principal Investigators who are honored with the award have also shown their effectiveness in integrating the two together. This year, the NSF has awarded Dr. Srikanth Patala with this honor, for his project titled, “Mapping the Genome of Metallic Grain Boundaries – Structure, Thermodynamics and Kinetics”.

The CAREER award will support Dr. Patala’s research in developing grain boundary structure-property relationships in metallic systems (such as Al, Fe, Mg etc.). Interfaces are planar defects that exhibit a diverse array of atomistic structures ranging from completely ordered (e.g. a twin boundary) to highly disordered (as seen in general high-angle grain boundaries). Dr. Patala is developing novel statistical algorithms and simulation tools to analyze the atomistic structure along these defects and to compute their thermodynamic and kinetic properties. The project will develop a fundamental understanding of grain boundary properties crucial for analyzing a wide-array of interface-dominated material phenomena, such as intergranular failure, stress corrosion cracking and abnormal grain growth. Additionally, the CAREER award also supports the integration of outreach and research. During, the academic year, Dr. Patala and his research group will develop open-source python modules for teaching concepts pertaining to the crystallographic theory of interfaces.

Congratulations to Dr. Patala and his group for their award and their efforts!

The original posting of this information can be found on NSF’s website at