March 19, 2009
UPTON, NY — Etsuko Fujita, a chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, will be honored for her accomplishments in science at Brookhaven Town’s 23rd Annual Women’s Recognition Night on March 26 at Town Hall in Farmingville. She will be among 11 women honored for their contributions to various fields in a ceremony to celebrate the significant achievements of local women during Women’s History Month.
Fujita’s pioneering research focuses on converting solar energy to clean, renewable fuels, in a process called artificial photosynthesis. While plants use chlorophyll to absorb sunlight, Fujita uses a photoelectrochemical cell to absorb light and to separate charges. Using the separated charges, water and carbon dioxide can be converted to solar fuels such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or methanol. Fujita and her colleagues are performing experiments aimed at understanding the details of the complex chemical reactions involving potential catalysts needed to drive the processes mimicking photosynthesis in the laboratory.
Fujita’s work is particularly significant because it addresses two national concerns: the need for research in sources of renewable energy that will ultimately eliminate U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and the reduction of the harmful effects of carbon dioxide on the earth’s climate caused by fossil fuel combustion. In addition, Fujita serves as a role model and mentor for younger scientists at Brookhaven Lab. Over the past five years, she has recruited eleven postdoctoral fellows to work under her supervision.
Etsuko Fujita earned a B.S. in chemistry from Ochanomizu University in Japan in 1972 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1976, the same year that she joined Brookhaven Lab as a research associate. She worked her way through the ranks to become a senior chemist with tenure in 2008, and she was a recipient of the 2008 BNL Science and Technology Award.
2009-10927 | INT/EXT | Media & Communications Office