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Kyoung-Shin Choi elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

April 24, 2024 By Aaron R. Conklin
Headshot photo of Kyoung-Shin Choi

Kyoung-Shin Choi

Trailblazing electrochemist Kyoung-Shin Choi has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, honoring her work developing and understanding electrodes and catalysts for use in electrochemical and photoelectrochemical applications critical to creating a sustainable future. These applications include sustainable and environmentally benign production of fuels, chemicals, fertilizers and clean water using renewable energy sources, like solar and biomass.

“I received the announcement email out of the blue,” says Choi, who joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Department of Chemistry in 2012. “I almost deleted it, thinking it was a spam message. I felt ecstatic and very grateful as this election was not possible without people who appreciated my science and worked hard to nominate me and promote my achievements.”

Choi is a globally renowned chemist who investigates materials and processes that use solar energy to produce fuels. Her research has advanced the understanding of how the surfaces and interfaces of photoelectrodes (electrodes that harvest solar energy) impact their performance.

Choi’s work also involves converting plant waste into fuels and chemicals using electrochemistry. She has developed numerous electrochemical processes for this conversion and also provided an atomic level understanding of reaction pathways involved with these processes.

Her more recent research expands to electrochemical water treatment and resource recovery, including the development of an electrochemical system that can remove and recover phosphate from municipal and industrial wastewater. Phosphate, one of the primary ingredients in agricultural fertilizer, is also an environmental hazard, fueling the rampant growth of algal blooms and damaging the health of lakes and streams.

Choi is the fourth member of the Department of Chemistry to earn election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences since 2010. She is happy to celebrate her election with the students and researchers in her lab, who share her passion for science and problem-solving.

“We work together to make what we do fun, exciting and rewarding,” she says.

Last year, Choi was named the Samsung Ho-Am Prize Laureate in the category of Chemistry and Life Sciences for her work on solar hydrogen production and was also elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams and others to recognize exceptional achievement and leadership that advances the public good. The 2024 formal induction ceremony will take place in Cambridge, Massachusetts this September at the Academy’s headquarters.