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NMSU's Joseph Wang ranked as world's most cited scientist in engineering

The most cited scientist in the world of engineering is a chemist -- Professor Joseph Wang of New Mexico State University -- according to the Institute for Scientific Information.



New Mexico State University chemistry Professor Joseph Wang is the most cited scientist in the world in the field of engineering, according to the Institute for Scientific Information. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Wang's work in the development of sensor and microchip devices landed him at the top of ISI's list of the world's most cited scientists in engineering for the past decade, 1991-2001. He will be honored, along with other top scientists in engineering, physics and computer science, June 17 at the annual conference of the American Society for Engineering Education in Montreal, Canada.

Wang, an analytical chemist, is internationally recognized in the rapidly emerging field of micro-instrumentation -- the development of hand-held devices that, in his words, "take the lab to the source rather than taking samples to the lab."

The applications of the technology are virtually unlimited. Wang's research contributed to the development of the GlucoWatch, a wristwatch-like blood glucose monitor for use by diabetics. Microsensors can be used to detect pollutants in water or pathogens in food. They can analyze strands of DNA to screen for genetic problems.

Wang's latest project, a collaboration with scientists at the University of California at Riverside, Oklahoma State University and the Naval Research Laboratory, aims to create a palm-sized device that detects explosives and nerve agents. This $2.6 million anti-terrorism initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice through the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.

Using microchips with separate channels for different functions, the hand-held devices can perform the entire analytical process of a laboratory, from sample collection to processing, separation and detection, Wang said.

"It is faster, simpler, cheaper and smaller," he said. "It not only cuts out the delay involved in laboratory testing, it also eliminates the errors that can occur during the transportation process. If you do the analysis in the field, you improve reliability and cut the cost."

The ISI rankings are based on how frequently a scientist's publications are cited by other scientists in the field -- a measure of the significance of the scientist's work. The institute's Scientist Rankings in Engineering for 1991-2001 show Wang in the No. 1 spot with 444 published papers that resulted in 2,078 citations.

His productivity and the significance of his research have been similarly recognized in the past. The International Society of Electrochemistry ranked him as the most-cited scientist in electrochemical core journals in 1995, and the second-most-productive author that same year.

In 1999, he was selected by the American Chemical Society's Division of Analytical Chemistry as the winner of its Chemical Instrumentation Award. He is the editor-in-chief of the international journal Electroanalysis and serves on the editorial boards of a number of other journals.

Typically, an international team of about 15 people -- post-doctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduates -- work in Wang's SensoChip Lab, which occupies a wing in New Mexico State University's chemistry building.

Wang holds a Regents Professorship and the Manasse Chair at New Mexico State. A native of Israel, he earned his doctorate at the Israel Institute of Technology in 1978. He joined the NMSU faculty in 1980, after serving for two years as a research associate at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Photo is available at http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/wang.jpg.
CUTLINE: New Mexico State University chemistry Professor Joseph Wang is the most cited scientist in the world in the field of engineering, according to the Institute for Scientific Information. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Karl Hill
May 24, 2002