July 23, 2008 — John C. Bean, the J.M. Money Professor of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia, is the 2009 winner of the IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award from the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology.
Bean was given the award "for providing opportunities to both undergraduate and pre-college students for discovery through both laboratory projects and virtual experiments on the World Wide Web."
A member of the U.Va. faculty since 1997, Bean received his B.S. from the California Institute of Technology in 1972, followed by M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in 1974 and 1976, respectively. His degrees were all in applied physics.
Upon graduation Bean took a position in the Solid State Electronics Research Laboratory of Bell Labs, Murray Hill, N.J. and became Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in 1985 and head of the Materials Science Research Department in 1986.
At Bell Labs he synthesized the first practical silicon-germanium strained layer films and explored their physical properties and device application. That work led to his being named an IEEE fellow in 1991 and to his inclusion on Science Citation Index’s list of "Most Highly Cited Researchers" in Materials Science.
After joining U.Va., Bean developed a particular interest in bringing micro and nano technology to undergraduates and members of the general public. To accomplish this with minimal use of math and jargon, he developed online tutorials based on 3D animations in 1999 under National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. These grew into the "UVA Virtual Lab," a public science education Web site (www.virlab.virginia.edu).
By the summer of 2008, visitors from more than 2,000 different educational institutions had viewed more than 4 million Web pages of micro and nano technology content on the site. Under a second NSF initiative, Bean has now added full online teaching materials for a prototype "Hands-on Introduction to Nanoscience" class that targets freshmen of all majors.
Bean holds 14 U.S. patents and has published 300 technical papers. These include invited reviews in The Proceedings of the IEEE, Physics Today and Science magazines. In 2004, he received a U.Va. All University Teaching Award
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