Faculty spotlight: Janet Tate

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Janet Tate

Physics Professor Janet Tate

In a career spanning 25 years at OSU, physics professor Janet Tate has skillfully balanced brilliant research, creative, cutting-edge collaborations and outstanding teaching and mentorship. Therefore it is not surprising that, when asked about her proudest moment as a physicist, Tate chooses a project that bridges her multidisciplinary work and her passion for teaching.

Along with Doug Keszler of Chemistry and a group of students and postdocs, Tate worked on compounds such as barium copper sulfide fluoride (BaCuSF) and its variants and derivatives. Tate and her group showed that this class of semiconductors has a higher controllable p-type conductivity that can be used to develop transparent electronics or be used as part of a solar cell.

“This work was really quite complete and a thorough investigation of a new and interesting class of materials I think we pioneered,” said Tate. “I was really proud of the way both graduates and undergraduates worked independently and with one another and brought the research to fruition. They went on to very successful positions in National labs, industry and academia. I think those research experiences were pivotal to them.”

Currently, Tate’s research, in collaboration with other material scientists at OSU, is focused on creating new semiconductors with transparent circuits that will have electrical and optical properties that help to solve some of the world’s pressing problems like efficient conversion of solar energy and efficient light emission.

Tate’s mentorship ranges broadly. She is Chair of the American Physical Society’s Committee on Careers and Professional Development and has organized a national conference on graduate education and national workshops on professional development in physics. Tate is also very active in encouraging diversity in science and is leading her department to host the conference of undergraduate women in physics in 2016.

“Science is a living and growing thing and its continued success depends on the next generation.”

“Not only do we have to produce discoveries, but we have to produce people who will make future discoveries and make sure they are successfully launched into new careers,” said Tate.

Recently, Tate was named the first Dr. Russ and Delores Gorman Faculty Scholar at OSU. The three-year endowed award recognizes faculty who brings distinction to the College of Science, connects with industry and has a strong record of innovative research with practical impact. This award will support Tate’s novel research on transparent semiconductors with the potential for real-world application.

A globally renowned materials physicist, Tate was one of seven international scientists and former Technical University of Munich (TUM) research alumni awarded the title of “TUM Ambassador” for 2014. Tate’s research is supported by prestigious grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Lab.

She is also the recipient of many honors including the OSU Milton Harris Award in Basic Research, a Sloan Research Fellowship and a Frederick H. Horne Award for excellence in teaching.

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