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Glass’ Off-Kilter Harmonies

Asegun Henry wants to avert the worst effects of climate change by finding new forms of renewable energy and improving the materials that contribute to energy use. "The way we produce electricity today pollutes the environment," said Henry, a mechanical engineering professor at Georgia Tech. "My research is primarily centered on converting us from a fossil fuel-based infrastructure to a renewable- or solar–based infrastructure so we can rely on renewable forms of energy that don't pollute the world at all. "I personally see that as saving the world." What makes Henry's approach to energy problems different from other engineers is his background in atomic-level computer modeling. "I understand different processes in terms of what's going on at the atomic level," Henry said. "That allows me to develop insights and opportunities for new ideas that are different from others that are coming from the macroscopic level." His research is largely interested in how heat transport works at the smallest scales. In October, Henry published the results of a study of amorphous silicon dioxide — commonly known as glass — in Nature Scientific Reports that answered a longstanding mystery about the everyday material: why its thermal conductivity rises with temperature. Learn more at

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