2019 Albert Einstein World Award of Science to Dr. Zhong Lin Wang for Nanogenerator InnovationsJune 15, 2019 by Paul Shepard
The winner of the 2019 Albert Einstein World Award of Science is Dr. Zhong Lin Wang, Chair and Regents Professor, School of Materials Science & Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. The prize is awarded for Dr. Wang's pioneering and seminal contributions to the discovery, innovation and implementation of nanogenerators and self-powered systems.
These innovations enable unprecedented new technologies for harvesting energy from the environment and biological systems, with applications in personal electronics, sensor networks, biomedical and healthcare devices, and environmental monitoring.
The jury also acknowledged the significant impact of his discoveries and breakthroughs, which have already inspired worldwide efforts in academia and industry towards a wide range of technological applications that will be of great benefit to humankind and the sustainable development of our society.
Dr. Zhong Lin Wang received his Ph.D. in Physics from Arizona State University in 1987. Throughout his career, he has made seminal and pioneering contributions to developing new energy and sensor technology that are expected to change the world in the near future.
He is best known for the discovery and development of nanogenerators for self-powered systems and large-scale blue energy, an unprecedented technology for harvesting energy from the environment and biological systems, for applications in personal electronics, internet of things, biomedical devices, environmental monitoring and robotics. His innovations also provide a revolutionary approach for obtaining large-scale energy from daily life non-polluting sources with potential to harvest huge amounts of energy from ocean waves, aimed at solving the future energy needs of the world.
Wang's discovery and breakthroughs in developing nanogenerators have established the principle and technological road map for using mechanical energy for powering mobile sensors. He first showed that the nanogenerator originated from the Maxwell's displacement current and revived the applications of Maxwell's equations in energy and sensors. His recent understanding on the physics of triboelectrification solves a 2,600 year old science problem and establishes the foundation for triboelectric nanogenerators.
His research on self-powered nanosystems has inspired the worldwide efforts in academia and industry for harvesting ambient energy for micro-nanosystems, which is now a distinct discipline in energy science - nano energy.
Nanogenerators have the potential to revolutionize every corner of our life, ranging from the internet of things, to human-machine interfacing for robotics and artificial intelligence, implantable medical devices, health care, self-powered sensors for infrastructure monitoring and even environmental protection.
It is remarkable that his discoveries and inventions originate from innovative and creative unprecedented fundamental studies based on basic physical properties of materials and long-known theories, such as piezoelectricity and triboelectricity.
Dr. Wang has already published a remarkable number of peer reviewed papers 1,500 including 55 in Nature, Science and sister journals, and has an enormous impact on the nanotechnology community as measured by the number of citations (over 205,000) and has an H-index of 226, according to Google Scholar, June 2019. In addition to being a chair professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, he is also the director of Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems.
Finally, Dr. Wang's personal qualities should not be overlooked. He has been described as a "natural leader, always very kind, inspiring, full of energy, with a positive impact on everyone collaborating with him."