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K-State Today

October 25, 2011

Physics professor one of state's top scientists

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

A Kansas State University physicist has been recognized as a leading force in the state when it comes to studying matter, energy and motion.

Christopher Sorensen, Cortelyou-Rust university distinguished professor and university distinguished teaching scholar, was recently recognized by the Ad Astra Kansas Initiative as one of the top 150 scientists in Kansas throughout its 150 years of statehood.

Sorensen's research is focused on particulate systems -- including particles in aerosols -- light scattering, soft matter physics and nanoparticle solutions. Most recently his creation of a multipurpose gel made from aerosols was issued a patent. The gel can be used in fuel cells, water filtration systems or even to capture fine cometary dust.

In addition to being a prominent researcher, Sorensen has also been recognized with numerous awards for his teaching, including being named a 2007 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year.

"I have been a scientist from a very young age," Sorensen said. "I like to know how things work -- the 'nuts and bolts' of stuff from the grand scales to the seemingly mundane. There is wonder everywhere and science trains you to see it. When I teach, I very much try to pass that wonder on to my students."

Ad Astra's project, "Science in Kansas: 150 Years and Counting," is a celebration of the state's sesquicentennial. It is meant to emphasize the importance of science and the career possibilities in research and innovation to K-12 students. Throughout the year the initiative is spotlighting Kansas researchers, inventors and engineers from the past to the present who have advanced their field. Sorensen is the 11th active faculty member at the university to be named a top scientist. The organization has recognized other historically noted Kansas researchers like George Washington Carver, Charles H. Sternberg, Clyde Cessna and Clyde Tombaugh.