BYU engineer wins White House’s highest award for young researchers


The White House has honored a BYU engineering professor Christopher Mattson with the highest award the U.S. government offers to young researchers in science and engineering.

“It’s a real honor to have our day-to-day research efforts recognized by the president of the United States,” Mattson said in a press release. “This award reminds us of the important impact our research is having.”

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Chris Mattson
Mattson, who joined BYU’s Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology in 2006, is now the second BYU professor to receive this award since 2007 honoree Adam Woolley. Mattson is part of a select group of researchers across the country awarded this year’s Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, according to a press release .

The National Science Foundation nominated him for his “innovative research to enable product design for sustainable poverty alleviation, and for dedication towards establishing third-world outreach and learning experiences for engineering students,” according to a citation accompanying the award.

Last year Mattson led a group of engineering students who built a human-powered drill that successfully struck water in Tanzania. This year Mattson completed a 15-day trip to Peru with three students on the NSF-funded research. During the trip he oversaw the work of a bachelor’s student, master’s student and Ph.D. student.

Mattson credits part of his success to his research assistants, “I have a remarkable group of talented research assistants, without them there is no meaningful research,” Mattson said. “So I consider this award theirs as much as it is mine.”

Mattson completed a bachelors and masters in mechanical engineering from BYU and a Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2003.

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