Dennis Hong, an associate professor with the Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, has been named to "Popular Science's" 8th annual Brilliant 10.

The annual listing honors top scientists younger than 40 years of age from across the United States. Honorees are chosen from among hundreds of nominees each year. “From solar cells to cancer cells, tracking viruses, and preventing disasters, the Brilliant 10 are dreaming up solutions for some of the planet’s most vexing challenges,” stated a new release issued by "Popular Science". The November issue hits newsstands today.

The award is the latest in a stellar year for Hong. During the past several months, he was promoted to associate professor of mechanical engineering, awarded the SAE International’s Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, and named as a 2009 Forward Under 40 honoree by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Alumni Association.

Additionally, Hong’s work to help build a car that the blind and low-vision population can drive garnered national media coverage from The Washington Post and CBS News, among dozens of other news outlets.

The "Popular Science" article details Dennis’ work in robotics engineering. Director of the award-winning Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa), Hong’s research focuses on robot locomotion and manipulation, autonomous vehicles and humanoid robots.

“From the time he laid eyes on R2-D2 and C-3PO as a six-year old watching ‘Star Wars,’ Hong says he knew he wanted to build robots. Today, he is the creator of real-life robotic wonders including a hand that’s dexterous enough to handle an egg, a pole-climbing snake ‘bot for construction inspections and a three-legged robot whose design mimics the momentum of the human gait,” the article reads.

Hong’s fellow 2009 Brilliant 10 nominees hail from such research institutions as Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and Yale University.

Founded in 1872, "Popular Science" is the world's largest science and technology magazine, with a circulation of 1.3 million and 7.1 million readers. Each month, it delivers “The Future Now,” reporting on the intersection of science and everyday life with an eye toward what’s new and why it matters.

Among Hong’s past honors is the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. He also has won several international awards related to his work in robotic competitions including the DARPA Urban Challenge.

Hong received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

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