Physicist Kenneth Singer Receives Faculty Distinguished Research Award

Kenneth Singer, the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and director of the Engineering Physics Program, is one of four CWRU professors this year to receive the Faculty Distinguished Research Award. The honor recognizes those whose groundbreaking research has made waves within engineering, medicine, physics and nursing. Recipients receive $10,000 in research funds and, earlier in the semester, they received  a plaque during an in-person surprise visit from President Barbara R. Snyder, Provost Ben Vinson III and Vice President for Research and Technology Management Suzanne Rivera.

Also honored with the award:

  • Roger H. French, Kyocera Professor of Materials Science and Engineering;
  • Rose Gubitosi-Klug, professor of pediatrics and associate professor of pharmacology
  • Jaclene A. Zauszniewski, Kate Hanna Harvey Professor in Community Health Nursing.
Photo of Kenneth Singer holding an award plaque

Singer has enjoyed great success as a researcher, professor and entrepreneur. His research on optics and soft materials is among the most highly cited in the physics and chemistry literature, an honor for which he was recognized with highly selective fellowship status by both the American Physical Society and Optical Society of America.

His authoritative research led to the creation of a successful company, Folio Photonics Inc., which developed a technique to produce and read data in three dimensions on a single disc using multilayered polymer films. Singer founded the company in 2012 in response to a swelling demand to archive digital data. He is executive board chair and chief innovation officer, and he holds numerous patents on polymeric-optic materials and devices, polymer lasers and optical data storage.

His research and reputation have helped attract top faculty and bring in donor support to Case Western Reserve University and the Department of Physics. 

Singer has been a tremendous collaborator and leader, said Glenn Starkman, Distinguished University Professor and Department of Physics co-chair. He launched the Engineering Physics degree program, spearheaded the creation of the Materials for Opto/Electronics Research and Education (MORE) Center, of which he is the faculty director, and was a founding and leading member of the Institute for Advanced Materials.  

Singer’s interdisciplinary approach to education and research has brought together the science departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and several engineering departments in the Case School of Engineering. 

“Today’s CWRU would be much different—poorer and less collegial—if Ken had not joined our faculty in 1989,” said Charles Rosenblatt, professor and Ohio Eminent Scholar in Condensed Matter Physics. “Ken’s intellectual influence, as well as his educational and service contributions, have reached far and wide, and it [is] fitting that Ken receive the Faculty Distinguished Research Award.”