Graduate student Browne receives Layn Award for research into cleaning up water systems

Sunday, Oct 18, 2020
by Scott Lyon

Christopher Browne has received the 2020 Kristine M. Layn Award from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. The award, established in 1999, recognizes outstanding research achievement by a CBE graduate student by the end of the third year. 

This award honors Layn's memory, in recognition of her accomplishments while a chemical engineering graduate student at Princeton. The award carries no monetary prize, but the recipient’s name is recorded on a plaque in the Elgin Room of the Engineering Quadrangle. 

Browne's research is motivated by a key challenge to the global water security system, according to his adviser, Sujit Datta, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering. Groundwater supplies the drinking water for more than half of the U.S. population. Trapped contaminants pose a major threat to that supply. Browne is developing a deeper understanding of how to use polymer solutions to clean up polluted aquifers, updating the established, classical understanding of underground fluids to include the movement of elastic fluids that might better remediate highly sensitive environments.

"Chris is a force of nature and has been remarkable in his research productivity and depth," Datta said in nominating Browne for the honor.

In his first three years of graduate school, Browne has led or co-led two published studies, published a review article, and collaborated on a separate study. Several more articles with Browne as first author are either forthcoming or under review.

Browne arrived at Princeton in 2017 after receiving his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Mary and Randall Hack '69 Fellowship, and a Gordon Wu Graduate Fellowship. He is originally from Ohio.