Two sustainability scientists earn prestigious Regents Professor title

Nancy GrimmTwo sustainability scientists in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, out of five Arizona State University professors overall, were awarded the prestigious Regents Professor title. Nancy Grimm, a distinguished sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and Vijay Vittal, a senior sustainability scientist and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering professor, are both internationally recognized experts at the apex of their fields. They joined an elite rank when their nominations were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents. As a scientist, Grimm has had a significant impact in environmental sciences and is a pioneer in desert stream ecosystems. Her work focuses on the interaction of climate variation and change, human activities and ecosystems. She collaborates across disciplines to address the problems of urban sustainability and was one of the creators of the sub-discipline urban ecology. Currently, her lab, the Grimm Lab, is working on several projects, including a collaboration among several universities to develop a way to take the “pulse” of streams. Described by a reviewer as the “No. 1 scholar globally in power system dynamics,” Vittal focuses on large-scale power grids, specifically the transmission, distribution and security of energy infrastructure. He developed the theory and application of “islanding,” in which parts of a power grid are isolated to prevent the disastrous cascade of outages and contain fluctuations on the power grid. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office awarded $3.6 million to a team Vittal was part of to advance the role of solar energy in strengthening the resiliency of the nation’s electric grid. The other three professors awarded the Regents Professor title were Blake Ashforth, Joan Silk and Cassia Spohn.