B.S. Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Old Dominion University, 1987​M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1989Ph.D Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1992​Visiting Postdoctoral Research Engineer and Visiting Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering, 1993-1994

"Developing a fundamental understanding of energy transport at the nanoscale, knowledge required to engineer materials to minimize energy consumption."

Pamela Marie Norris, Frederick Tracy Morse Professor Emeritus

After receiving her PhD from Ga Tech in 1992 and completing post-doctoral studies at UC Berkeley with Chang-Lin Tien, Pamela Norris joined the faculty at UVA in 1994, where she founded both the Nanoscale Energy Transfer Lab and the Aerogel Research Lab. Today, she is recognized globally as a leading expert in both research fields. She routinely chairs, and speaks at, international conferences on those subjects and has published over 100 heavily cited refereed journal papers. She holds patents for applications of aerogels in areas ranging from biological warfare detection, to lab-on-a-chip, to thermal insulation, along with patents for innovative thermal management techniques for jet-blast deflectors. She has served as the PI or Co-PI on over 45 sponsored research projects representing well over $25M from DOD, NSF, Industry and Foundations. She has supervised a few undergraduate theses each year and has advised 24 doctoral students, 26 master’s degree students, and many research assistants.

Pam is well-known for her mentoring skills and for her dedication to increasing the representation and retention of women faculty in the STEM disciplines, having served as the Director of UVA’s NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation program. In 2016 she was honored with the Society of Women Engineers Distinguished Engineering Educator Award “for enduring, positive influence on students’ lives as a gifted teacher, mentor, and role model; and for promoting greater diversity in STEM higher education” as well as the UVA Zintl Leadership award honoring “Excellence in work that makes a direct and significant impact on the core academic enterprise of the University and an unusually high degree of service to the University, within and beyond the expectations of the woman’s position description.”  She was also the 2018 recipient of the Raven Award, which recognizes two faculty per year for their “excellence in service and contribution to the University,” the highest honor the Raven Society bestows upon an individual.


  • Recipient of the 2018 Raven Award 2018
  • Recipient of the Society of Women Engineers Distinguished Engineering Educator Award 2016
  • Recipient of the UVA Zintl Leadership Award 2016
  • Recipient of the SEAS Distinguished Faculty Award 2015
  • Named the Frederick Tracy Morse Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 2010
  • Finalist in the 2008 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF) Program
  • Elected Fellow of ASME 2005
  • Recipient of the Undergraduate Research Network Faculty Award for Mentorship 2006 and 2007
  • Recipient of the Georgia Tech Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni Award 1996

Research Interests

  • Nanoscale Heat Transfer
  • Interfacial Thermal Transport
  • Thermal Management
  • Aerogel Technologies

The impact of UVA research on the local economy

Executive Associate Dean for Research at UVA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, Pamela Norris, speaks at the 2016 Future Forum on the impact of UVA research on the local economy.

In the News

Selected Publications

  • Effects of temperature and disorder on thermal boundary conductance at solid–solid interfaces: Nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50 (19), 3977-3989. ABS RJ Stevens, LV Zhigilei, PM Norris
  • Measurement of thermal boundary conductance of a series of metal-dielectric interfaces by the transient thermoreflectance technique. Journal of Heat Transfer 127(3), 315-322 (Mar 24, 2005) (8 pages)doi:10.1115/1.1857944 RJ Stevens, AN Smith, PM Norris
  • Femtosecond pump–probe nondestructive examination of materials. Review of Scientific Instruments 74 (1), 400-406 ABS PM Norris, AP Caffrey, RJ Stevens, JM Klopf, JT McLeskey Jr, AN Smith
  • Enhancing and tuning phonon transport at vibrationally mismatched solid-solid interfaces. Physical Review B 85 (3), 035438. ABS TS English, JC Duda, JL Smoyer, DA Jordan, PM Norris, LV Zhigilei
  • Influence of inelastic scattering at metal-dielectric interfaces. Journal of Heat Transfer 130 (2), 022401. ABS PE Hopkins, PM Norris, RJ Stevens

Featured Grants & Projects

  • An NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant

    “Structured Conversations and Re-imagined Spaces Effecting Systemic Change for Women in STEM at UVA,” co-PI, $3,267,131, 2012-2017.