Newsletter Issue 21, May 2021
From the Interim President
and Founding Director
At the end of May, I transfer the leadership reins of Texas A&M University to the very accomplished and
capable hands of M. Katherine Banks as our 26th president. Reviewing these past five months and looking to the future, I am reminded of Gene Autry’s 1939 hit song, “Back in the Saddle Again." I hasten to add, while I am, ahem, rather chronologically advantaged, I was not alive in 1939! However, being “back in the saddle” is what I look forward to as I re-focus on leading the mission of the Hagler Institute, time-shared with my research and mentoring as “Professor John” of my awesome graduate students. I am full of excitement and anticipation.
The interim presidency was not a role that I sought, but accepting this supreme service challenge has greatly broadened my appreciation for the potential of this amazing university. Jon Hagler aptly described Texas A&M as a “sleeping giant”… I sense we are awake and about to be on the march. I have given my all this spring and am so happy that I have been able to solve some problems that will enable President Banks to immediately begin defining and pursuing a bold long-range vision. The work this spring made me realize that the solution to almost every problem I encountered should be approached using the traditions and framework established over many decades by my predecessors. More specifically, this spring I have tried to approach all problems by application of A&M’s core values of excellence, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service.  I strongly believe that if we courageously apply these core values in our daily lives, each of us can help overcome many of the challenges we face. Institutional traditions based on these core values make
Texas A&M unique among America’s universities, and I can assure you the Hagler Institute operates on this foundation. 

As President Banks leads the university to even higher heights, I call on my colleagues and friends in the university community and the Aggie Network to hold fast to these core values and pull together to support our next great president. I sense an expanded role for our Institute and a “golden era” at Texas A&M.

I am looking forward to our 10th anniversary milestone gala and two exceedingly strong classes of Hagler Fellows to be inducted on February 25, 2022. There will be a couple of pleasant surprises at the gala, so make your plans early to be there. Let the good times roll and gig ‘em!

Stay safe, and best wishes. 
Hagler Fellow Updates
Yonggang Huang
Hagler Fellow 2018-19

A common theme of the Hagler Institute is that we bring world-class scholars to Texas A&M University. We often cite just a few accomplishments for an individual, and they do not “scratch the surface," so to speak, of what the scholar has actually achieved. Whereas we could present information about any of the Hagler Fellows that would support our “world-class” claim, we use 2018-2019 Hagler Fellow Yonggang Huang as an example.

Yonggang Huang is an engineer whose expertise spans various engineering disciplines. Professor Huang is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. He received his doctorate from Harvard University.

When Dr. Huang began his collaboration as a Hagler Fellow with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, he was already the recipient of numerous research awards, as well as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. As a Hagler Fellow, he has published several papers with A&M faculty and students. Below is a list of his honors since he arrived at Texas A&M in the fall of 2018.
  • Zdenek P. Bazant Medal for Failure and Damage Prevention, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2018
  • Highly Cited Researcher in Materials Science, Clarivate Analytics Web of Science, 2018
  • Highly Cited Researcher in Physics, Clarivate Analytics Web of Science, 2018
  • Theodore von Karman Medal, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2019
  • Thurston Lecture Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2019
  • Highly Cited Researcher in Materials Science, Clarivate Analytics Web of Science, 2019
  • Highly Cited Researcher in Materials Science, Clarivate Analytics Web of Science, 2020
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2020.
  • Member, US National Academy of Sciences, 2020
 
Huang’s memberships in both the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering place him among the top academic visionaries in the world.
 
Among his research endeavors are the mechanics of stretchable and foldable integrated circuits, additive manufacturing, and deterministic 3D assembly. His research has the potential for advancing technology in medicine and athletics. He developed pliable circuits for use in wearable flexible sensors, microfluidic devices, and transmitters. He introduced a type of single-crystal silicon that can stretch for use in high-performance electronics on rubber substrates. Huang also has worked on projects that involve injectable, cell-scale electronics with applications in wireless optogenetics; bioresorbable silicon sensors for the brain; inorganic light-emitting diodes for semitransparent displays that can bend; and digital cameras whose designs are based on the eyes of arthropods. Known internationally for his work, Huang has written two books and has more than 500 peer-reviewed publications.
 
Huang is now resuming his visits to Texas A&M and is just one example of our Hagler Fellows.
Cameron Jones
Hagler Fellow 2018-19

Prominent journals choose the editors of their special editions because they command the respect of their professional peers. Prestigious editors are a signal of the quality of the special edition.

The editors of the February 17, 2021 special edition “Spotlighting main group elements in polynuclear complexes," of Chemical Science, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry, are Cameron Jones, 2018-2019 Hagler Fellow and holder of the R. L. Martin Distinguished Chair of Chemistry at Monash University, Australia; Francois P. Gabbai, University Distinguished Professor and holder of the Arthur E. Martell Chair of Chemistry at Texas A&M University; and Connie C. Lu, Professor of Chemistry at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Jones and Gabbai have collaborated on three additional research projects during Jones’ involvement with the Hagler Institute.

Professor Jones also has two additional projects underway with Texas A&M faculty - with Associate Professor of Chemistry, Michael Nippe, and another with Assistant Professor David Powers

When someone of the caliber of Cameron Jones is in the United States from abroad, other universities take advantage of his proximity. Jones has given seven invited lectures since he has been a Hagler Fellow, including presentations at Harvard University and the University of Virginia. His return to Texas A&M has been delayed due to the pandemic, but we expect him to return during the next academic year. Jones’ work as a Hagler Fellow exemplifies what the Hagler Institute regularly provides to Texas A&M—an influx of refreshing ideas manifested in collaborations that push forward the frontiers of knowledge.
Andrea Rinaldo
Hagler Fellow 2018-19

Despite the pandemic related interruptions in personal visits to Texas A&M by Hagler Fellows, they continue to collaborate with A&M faculty and students. The work of Andrea Rinaldo, 2018-2019 Fellow of the Hagler Institute and professor of hydrology and water resources and director, Laboratory of Ecohydrology École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, is another example of productive teamwork. Rinaldo works with faculty and students in Texas A&M’s College of Engineering.
 
The Association of American Publishers announced in February 2021, that the recipient of the PROSE award in the category of Environmental Science was River Networks as Ecological Corridors. Species, Populations, Pathogens, Cambridge University Press, 2020. This book is the product of joint research by Rinaldo and his colleagues, Marino Gatto, Professor Emeritus of ecology, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, and Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, University Distinguished Professor and Wofford Cain Chair I Professor at Texas A&M. The authors thank the Hagler Institute for support in the project. Professors Rinaldo and Rodriguez- Iturbe have also published several joint peer-reviewed publications, one including another Texas A&M faculty member, Z. J. Chen.
 
The Rinaldo/Rodriquez-Iturbe collaboration represents the fertilization of ideas that characterize frontier scientific advancements and exemplifies a key impact of the Hagler Institute.
 
As with other Hagler Fellows with multi-year agreements, Rinaldo is scheduled to return to Texas A&M as soon as pandemic policies allow.
Richard A. Epstein
Hagler Fellow 2017-18

2017-2018 Hagler Fellow, Richard Epstein, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, is a highly respected legal scholar and author of many articles, books, and monographs. He remains active in the Institute and hopes to visit Texas A&M’s School of Law again in 2022.

Epstein recently published a new book, The Dubious Morality of Modern Administrative Law (2020). In it he describes abuses and threats to liberty and law arising from Congress’ delegating the implementation of laws to government agencies. Congress commonly assigns to agencies the design of regulations to implement laws. As the old saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details.” The nature of these specifics is what determines the degree of interference with economic activities and people’s liberties. Too often, the “details” have been designed to carry out political agendas rather than to efficiently implement law.

Part of Epstein's work at Texas A&M led to the publication of “The Many Sins of NEPA” (National Environmental Policy Act), 6 Texas A&M Law Review 1 (2018). In March, 2019, Epstein held a variety of workshops and events on campus and on behalf of Texas A&M at meetings in other Texas cities. As part of those meetings, he spoke to the Federalist Society Chapters in Dallas and Fort Worth and to state court judges and their clerks in Austin. During COVID restrictions, Epstein made presentations from New York University to A&M students and faculty.
 
One of Richard Epstein’s most famous works is his casebook on torts. The 12th edition of Epstein’s book with co-author Catherine M. Sharkey, Cases and Materials on Torts (Aspen Casebook), is due to be released August 2021. A new generation of students will benefit from the brilliant analyses by Richard Epstein.
Recognition of the Hagler Institute
The Hagler Institute for Advanced Study is becoming internationally recognized for promoting research excellence - the type that only visionaries produce. Over time, as more scholars are brought to Texas A&M and more publications bear the Hagler Institute’s name such recognition will grow even more.
Early in the life of the Institute, Fellows recognized the Institute in their publications with A&M faculty and students. Works only partially completed at Texas A&M have also noted the Institute’s affiliation. One example is a book by 2013-2014 Fellow, Robert Levine from the University of Maryland, who wrote The Lives of Frederick Douglas, published by Harvard University Press, January 7, 2016.
Susan Suleiman, 2015-16 Fellow from Harvard University, wrote The Némirovsky Question, Yale University Press, November 22, 2016. Both of these scholars warmly thanked the Hagler Institute and their Texas A&M colleagues in the acknowledgements. Over the years, the Hagler Institute has been recognized in numerous journal articles and conference proceedings for collaborative work pursued at Texas A&M.
Scholars are honored to be chosen as a Hagler Fellow. One example is a set of recent articles by 2020-2021 Fellow, Shaul Mukamel, from the University of California, Irvine.  Mukamel has yet to visit the A&M campus due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, in his latest publications on the quantum physics of light, not co-authored with A&M faculty or students, he included recognition of his affiliation with the Hagler Institute. 

Mukamel is renowned for his work in chemistry and physics. He was brought to the Hagler Institute by Texas A&M’s Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, which has recruited prize-winning physicists, including a Nobel prize recipient, as Hagler Fellows. 

After recruiting 80 outstanding scholars and leaders as Hagler Fellows, it is more widely apparent now that involvement in the Institute is a distinction reserved for “the few."  References to the Hagler Institute affiliation by Fellows enhance the reputation of the Hagler Institute and Texas A&M. We are happy to report that the Institute is being well represented in the literature.  
Hagler's Hero:
Eric Yong Xu’93
Timothy C. Hall was a renowned scholar at Texas A&M, a pioneer of plant molecular biology, plant transformation and related biotechnology, and a devoted teacher. Hall was one of the original supporters of John Junkins’ first proposal to establish what is now called the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study. How fitting, then, for Hall’s former doctoral student, Eric Yong Xu’93, to honor both Hall and the Hagler Institute by endowing the first ever Hagler Institute college chair.
 
Xu and his wife, Alice, visited the A&M Foundation from Singapore to endow a chair in honor of Xu's mentor, Tim Hall. During this visit, Xu heard that there was a way to associate Hall’s legacy with ultimate excellence through the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study. Only the finest scholars meet the high standards of nomination to the Hagler Institute, and the Institute funds two graduate fellowships for students to work directly with the Hagler Fellow.
Pictured are Dr. Timothy C. Hall (seated) with Eric and Alice Xu.
Photo Credit: James Lyle / Texas A&M Foundation
In February 2015, Xu provided $1 million, matched by the Hagler Institute, to establish the very first Hagler Institute College Chair. In February 2016, Xu donated another $500,000, matched by the Institute, to increase the endowment to $3 million. Tim Hall is now deceased, but he lived to see Xu’s great tribute to him and his work and mentorship.
 
The Timothy C. Hall-Heep Foundation Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biology can only be filled by prominent scientists brought to Texas A&M as Hagler Fellows, so they must meet the highest standards in their profession, such as membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Priority is given to scholars in the field of plant biology, with a secondary possibility of support for other types of biologists.
Two prominent plant biologists have been awarded the Hall chair. The first is 2017-2018 Hagler Fellow, Richard A. Dixon, an internationally renowned scholar from the University of North Texas. Dixon specializes in the metabolic engineering of plants. Dr. Dixon is collaborating with faculty and students at Texas A&M over several years, so he is still an active member of the Hagler Institute.
The second recipient of the Hall chair is 2020-21 Hagler Fellow James J. Giovannoni, from the Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agriculture Research Service and Boyce Thompson Institute, Cornell University. Giovannoni is best known for his molecular and genetic analysis of fruit physiology and ripening and for signal transduction systems in the tomato. 

Eric Xu, now a businessman, is a multi-faceted talent. After several years in biology research, Xu co-founded Baidu, the largest Chinese search engine. He is also an investor and venture capitalist and Founder of the Xu Family Charitable Foundation.  
Hagler Institute Faculty Liaison Honored
The most prestigious award presented to a scholar by the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is the SEC Professor of the Year. The recipient is chosen from among members of the faculty at the fourteen universities in the Southeastern Conference

In April 2021, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced that Karen Wooley was chosen as the 2021 SEC Professor of the Year. Karen is a University Distinguished Professor and holder of the W.T. Doherty-Welch Chair in Chemistry at Texas A&M. She is also a dedicated supporter of the excellence mission of the Hagler Institute. Karen serves as the faculty liaison for the Hagler Institute for the 2020-2021 academic year and she is a member of the Hagler Institute’s Faculty Advisory Board responsible for evaluating Hagler Fellow nominees.

Karen is an amazingly accomplished professional.  She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and is at the forefront of knowledge and exploration in materials, polymer chemistry, and creating new materials at the nanoscale level. The staff of the Hagler Institute extends its heartfelt congratulations to Karen Wooley, the 2021 SEC Professor of the Year. 
If you have news to share, please send articles, suggestions, or other information to:
Dr. Clifford L. Fry, Associate Director
Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M University