UGA professor Hardin named Georgia Power Professor in Textile Sciences

Athens, Ga. – Ian Hardin, an expert in the use of enzymes as substitutes for conventional chemical processing as well as in the development of enzymes for unique treatments of fibers and fabrics has been named to the Georgia Power Company Professorship in Textile Sciences at the University of Georgia.

Hardin, a professor in the textiles, merchandising and interiors (TMI) department of the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS), served as department head for more than 10 years before returning to the faculty in 2004. Prior to joining UGA he served on the faculty of Auburn University for 22 years.

“Dr. Hardin is an exemplary researcher, who is both meticulous and inquisitive,” according to FACS Dean Sharon Y. Nickols, who nominated Hardin for the position. The professorship has been approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

Since joining UGA, Hardin has been a part of more than $3.2 million in funded textile-related research.

During a luncheon honoring Hardin, highlighted by a tour of the TMI research laboratories, Nickols noted that while the state has seen the closing of a number of textile mills, the industry still plays a large role in Georgia’s economy.

“The carpet industry is a major player in Georgia,” she noted. “Also, the textile industry is continually reinventing itself. There’s always a frontier out there and the need to improve textile products is enduring.”

Bill Archer, Georgia Power executive vice president for external affairs, noted that Georgia Power received about $160 million in revenue from textile customers last year, making it and the pulp and paper industry the company’s two largest industrial segments.

“With 92,000 employees in the textile industry in the state, Georgia Power is committed to ensuring that it remains viable,” he noted. “In addition, the environmental impact of the textile industry is going to have a greater and greater presence, which means the research Ian and others are doing in that area is of particular interest to us.”

Hardin said he plans to continue his research in such areas as exploring the causes of aquatic toxicity as it relates to the effluents from textile mills.

“It is easy to demonstrate these problems, but determining unequivocally what causes them is very difficult,” he said. “What we’ve discovered is that if you look only at the impact of individual substances, they can be rather small. But if you look at what happens when you put certain substances together, the interactions can be an order of magnitude greater in terms of toxicity. This work helps both industry and the public by providing information that can solve rather than delay a problem.”

Hardin said he looks forward to the professorship providing a collaborative relationship with Georgia Power.

“I’m looking forward to regular meetings with Bill and others at Georgia Power to discuss the research I’m doing and to hear their thoughts and suggestions,” he said. “I know I’ll certainly learn from those meetings, and I think the give-and-take of such meetings could lead to a variety of collaborations that might expand from the textile research into a variety of other areas of family and consumer sciences.

Hardin earned his bachelor of science degree in textile science from Auburn University in 1965. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Clemson University in 1971. He is the son of Mrs. Jean Hardin of Montgomery, Ala.