Dr. Norman Nan Shi Wins 2019 Simon Prize Award

May 14 2019

Dr. Norman Nan Shi is the recipient of the 2019 Robert Simon Memorial Prize in recognition of his outstanding dissertation.

Dr. Shi received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in May 2018, where he was advised by Prof. Nanfang Yu. His dissertation, entitled “Biological and Bioinspired Photonic Materials for Passive Radiative Cooling and Waveguiding,” focused on studying and understanding optical and thermal properties of insects living in harsh thermal environments, and then developing biomimetic nanophotonic devices that utilized these unique properties towards applications in sustainable energy and image transport. Dr. Shi was first author on articles related to these researches in Science (2015) and Light: Science & Applications (2018).

Dr. Shi received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, with a minor in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009. Prior to pursuing a graduate degree at Columbia University, Dr. Shi worked as a characterization engineer in the field of renewable energy (2009-2011). While at Columbia University, Dr. Shi was the recipient of the NSF IGERT fellowship (2012-2013) and the DOE Office of Science Graduate Research fellowship (2015-2016).

Following his Ph.D., Dr. Shi served as a post-doctoral research scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center, where he contributed to the development of photonic based instruments and devices in the field of cell sorting and energy distribution. Currently, Dr. Shi is an optical engineer at Western Digital, contributing to the development of the next generation nanophotonic system used in heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR).

History of the Prize: Robert Simon (1919-2001) spent a lifetime making valuable contributions to the field of computer science. He received a B.A. degree cum laude in Classics from CUNY in ‘41 and an M.A. in Mathematics from Columbia in ‘49. He was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Armed forces serving in England, France, and Italy. He worked for 15 years at Sperry’s Univac Division and also worked at the Fairchild Engine Division as Director of the Engineering Computer Group. He directed the establishment of several company computer centers at sites throughout the U.S. and was a partner with American Science Associates, a venture capital firm. He was a founder and Vice President of Intech Capital Corporation and served on its board and a founder and member of the board of Leasing Technologies International, Inc. until his retirement.

The Prize was established by Dr. Jane Faggen with additional support from friends and relatives of Mr. Simon.