Chemist Frank Leibfarth joins Popular Science’s Brilliant 10 of 2021
Leibfarth’s research on the removal of PFAS, also known as synthetic “forever chemicals,” from drinking water sources was what captured the attention of the 150-year-old magazine’s editors.
Frank Leibfarth, assistant professor of chemistry, was selected to join Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” roster of 2021. The Brilliant 10 roster recognizes 10 early-career scientists and engineers across the nation who have the potential to transform the world with their innovative approaches to key issues.
Leibfarth was chosen from among hundreds of candidates. His research on the removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS or synthetic “forever chemicals,” was what captured the attention of Popular Science.
“The technology Frank has developed to scrub ‘forever chemicals’ from drinking water is exactly the type of elegant, affordable, yet inspired innovation we’re proud to celebrate,” says Editor-in-Chief Corinne Iozzio.
Leibfarth joined the faculty at Carolina Chemistry in 2016 and has since earned recognition for his innovative research approaches to polymer and materials chemistry, teaching and mentoring. Leibfarth earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California Santa Barbara and a bachelor’s of science in chemistry from the University of South Dakota.
This year marks the return of the Brilliant 10 roster from a five-year hiatus.
“Science and technology’s roles in everyday life and our day-to-day discourse have accelerated so rapidly just in the past two years, we felt like this was the perfect time to revive this franchise and honor some of America’s brightest innovators,” Iozzio says. “These thinkers represent our best hopes for navigating unprecedented challenges in fields as practical as public health and as far-reaching as astrophysics.”
Popular Science was established in 1872 and remains one of America’s most trusted magazine brands. The magazine connects the everyday consumer with an array of topics in science by interpreting everything from deeply technical scientific topics to the science behind common household goods.