DoE Researchers Honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

President Obama named 13 U.S. Department of Energy researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are early in their independent research careers. The DOE awardees are being recognized for their efforts in a variety of fields – from research to help our nation achieve energy independence and enhance national security to explorations of the elementary particles in the universe. DOE nominated the awardees and DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration fund their work.

“It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers—careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the Nation,” President Obama said. “That so many of them are also devoting time to mentoring and other forms of community service speaks volumes about their potential for leadership, not only as scientists but as model citizens.”

“Science and technology are the core of our mission at DOE,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “These young scientists are using their talents to help our nation build a brighter future, so I congratulate them on their accomplishments and I look forward to their future achievements.”

The winning DOE scientists are among 94 researchers supported by 16 federal departments and agencies who will receive the PECASE award. In addition to a citation and a plaque, each PECASE winner will continue to receive DOE funding for up to five years to advance his or her research. The scientists and engineers will receive their awards on Friday, October 14, 2011 at a White House ceremony.

The winning DOE- and NNSA-funded researchers are:

Dr. Christian W. Bauer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

For developing crucial computational tools that will enable physicists at the Large Hadron Collider to distinguish new discoveries from known processes; for delivering an event generator stimulation package that captures the most accurate state-of-the-art calculations; and for mentoring future high-energy physicists.

Dr. Grigory Bronevetsky, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

For innovative, cutting-edge research using statistical models to predict the effects of system faults leading to the development of new software tools and more reliable applications and supercomputer systems, and for his strong track record of professional service and leadership.

Dr. Fotini Chow, University of California, Berkeley

For fundamental research on the simulation of atmospheric turbulence, which has wide-ranging applications that include the dispersal of plumes resulting from atmospheric releases of radioactive or toxic material and the accurate simulation of wind fields for weather prediction.

Dr. Carole Dabney-Smith, Miami University

For imaginative research on the unique pathway that transports folded and assembled proteins across lipid membranes in plants to form the energy-harvesting complexes of photosynthesis and for excellent mentorship of developing scientists.

Dr. David Erickson, Cornell University

For pioneering multidisciplinary research on innovative optofluidic devices, self-reliant microfluidic and biorobotic systems, reconfigurable photonics, biosensing technologies, and directed nanoassembly, as well as service to the research community demonstrated by editorship of two leading journals.

Dr. Daniel Fredrickson, University of Wisconsin-Madison

For the development of concepts crucial to defining the importance of chemical frustration as a critical component mediating between bonding and structure in complex alloys, and for changing the way the community thinks about the structures of solid-state inorganic compounds.

Dr. Christiane Jablonowski, University of Michigan

For exemplary computation science research, advancing the frontier at the interfaces of applied math, computer science, scientific computing, and atmospheric science, and for leadership in connecting diverse communities and bridging the gaps between mathematical and computational developments and the special requirements of climate modeling.

Dr. Gang L. Liu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

For collaborative development of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy techniques for a variety of national security applications ranging from measuring the long-term health of the U.S. nuclear stockpile to bio-detection.

Dr. Alysia D. Marino, University of Colorado

For significant accomplishments in the study of neutrino properties and the development of beam-line diagnostic tools that will inform design choices for future neutrino beam facilities; and for excellent mentoring of graduate students.

Dr. Victoria J. Orphan, California Institute of Technology

For developing new techniques to study interactions between microbes, relevant for understanding the role of methane in the biosphere, which is of urgent importance for addressing the global carbon cycle and climate change; and for emerging leadership in the microbiology research community.

Dr. Wei-Jun Qian, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

For developing and improving methods to identify proteins in key metabolic processes, profiling dynamic protein abundances at the subcellular level, providing information needed to make enzyme processing of biomass more efficient, and for impressive scientific independence and leadership in proteomics.

Dr. Evgenya I. Simakov, Los Alamos National Laboratory

For pioneering the development of specially designed structures for high-energy accelerators that mitigate undesirable byproducts of high-energy particle acceleration, thus improving the quality and intensity of the accelerated particle beam; and for outreach activities and leadership in the advanced accelerator community.

Dr. Feng Wang, University of California, Berkeley

For pioneering research on ultrafast optical characterization of carbon nanostructures that has advanced the fundamental understanding of the electronic structure of graphene and is expected to enable the development of advanced-energy-relevant technologies.