Datta, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, designs lab experiments that closely mimic real-world conditions found underground and inside the body, where many different kinds of soft and porous materials interact. Through fundamental insights into soft-matter physics and complex spaces, Datta has touched on a wide range of application areas, including groundwater remediation and oil recovery, agricultural innovation, and human health.
Each of the 35 early-career researchers was designated in one of seven contribution categories. Datta's award cited his extraordinary work in the area of energy and the environment. The honor comes with a $500 prize and a special reception at the 2020 AIChE annual meeting in November.
Datta joined the Princeton faculty in 2017 after a postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. In addition to his primary appointment, he is an associated faculty member in the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials. Earlier this year he won the 2020 ACS Unilever Award and he was the recipient of a 2019 NSF CAREER Award.