Campus Life

Sigma Xi Honors Texas A&M Scientist, Communicator With 2018 Awards

September 11, 2018

Renyi Zhang (left)
Renyi Zhang (left) receives the Sigma Xi Outstanding Distinguished Scientist award.
By Texas A&M University Research Communications & Public Relations

Texas A&M University’s chapter of Sigma Xi, the research honor society, presented its top honors to a scientist and a communicator during a reception on Wednesday at the University Club in Rudder Tower. In addition, the chapter recognized its 11 new members.

The chapter presented its Outstanding Distinguished Scientist award to Renyi Zhang, University Distinguished Professor and holder of the Harold J. Haynes Chair in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Geosciences, and professor in the Department of Chemistry, College of Science. Early in his research career, Zhang contributed to the understanding of ozone depletion in the Earth’s stratosphere. His research at Texas A&M has led to important discoveries in photochemical oxidation of hydrocarbons; formation, growth and properties of aerosols; urban and regional air pollution; ambient measurements of trace gases and aerosols; assessment of the interaction between aerosols, clouds and climate; and the impacts of human activities on the environment, weather and climate. He holds a doctoral degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The chapter’s Outstanding Science Communicator award went to Philip Yasskin, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, College of Science. The award recognizes Yasskin for 15 years of contributions to his development of technology to enhance mathematics education, his overall enhancement of primary and secondary mathematics education, and his outreach programs for students and teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade. Yasskin holds a doctoral degree from the University of Maryland.

“The Texas A&M Chapter of Sigma Xi is pleased to recognize these outstanding scientists for their achievements in research excellence and in the critical mission of outreach and communication of science to the community,” says Dana Gaddy, chapter president and professor, Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Sigma Xi is an international, chapter-based organization dedicated to nurturing the research enterprise in all fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Unique among scientific honor societies, Sigma Xi has a broad outlook that spans the spectrum of science and technology and is committed to the core values that unite across disciplinary boundaries. For more information, visit

About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world’s leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $905.4 million in fiscal year 2017. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey (2016), based on expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit

Media Contact: Dana Gaddy,

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