Ed went to college intending to be an architect. Fortunately, the terms of his scholarship forced him to major in chemistry. He went on to get his Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University, where he wrote the first dissertation in the field of polymer liquid crystals. Now Ed designs macromolecular structures—polymers for novel applications from solar energy to high performance materials for aerospace vehicles. Before co-founding Carbon, Ed co-founded two other companies: Liquidia Technologies and Allotropica Technologies. As the Cary Boshamer Professor of Chemistry, he also created the top-ranked Polymer Science Program at UNC. Joe was Ed’s first hire into that program in 1990. He has recently been tasked by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to launch its first new science department in 40 years, the Department of Applied Physical Sciences. This department is the outcome of a multi-year task force Ed chaired to explore the best way to encourage interdisciplinary scientific research. Ed has worked at some of the most distinguished scientific laboratories in the world including the Cavendish Laboratory, the Weizmann Institute, the University of Paris (Sud), and Grongingen, The Netherlands. Ed was a Guggenheim Fellow in New Zealand, where he was a founding member of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. He also served as a science advisor to the State Department in 2005-2006, in a joint appointment to both the East Asia-Pacific Bureau (EAP) and the Intelligence and Research division (INR). He was the founding editor of the premier journal in one of his fields, Liquid Crystals. His publication list covers many fields, including liquid crystals, nuclear magnetic resonance, rheoNMR, nonlinear optics, and high performance polymers.
Alex, and his 16-year-old son Nikita, designed and built the first prototype of the CLIP machine, demonstrating a technology that printed at speeds previously unimaginable. While Alex was trained as a theoretical physicist, in practice he has been an engineer since the age of 10 when he began building and launching gliders from the third floor of his family’s condo in Dimitrovgrad, Russia. If you ask him about his background, Alex won’t mention publications, awards, or credentials. He will describe technologies he has developed and before that, a childhood of building control-line planes, blowing up model rocket engines, and etching circuit boards on his kitchen table. At age 17, Alex won the Young Science Scholar Award, which took him from Russia to Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. He returned to Russia for higher education, receiving his doctorate at Moscow State University. He then completed postdoctoral work, first in Canada as a NATO Fellow and then at Northwestern University. In 2005, he joined Joe’s lab at UNC-Chapel Hill, which led to a position at Liquidia Technologies. At Liquidia, Alex’s work allowed the company to begin producing nanoparticles on a manufacturing scale. Alex combines his theoretical background and analytical mind with hands-on experience and an insatiable desire to create. He not only generates new theoretical hypotheses, he executes, turning ideas into tangible results. As CTO at Carbon, Alex leads technology innovation and still enjoys collaborating with his son Nikita.