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WASHINGTON, DC - At a White House ceremony today, seven "early career" researchers, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), were honored for their work ranging from the study of elements produced by exploding stars, to the validation of computer simulations in support of the nation's nuclear stockpile stewardship program.

DOE's scientists are among 56 researchers supported by nine federal departments and agencies who received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The Presidential award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent careers. Each Presidential award winner received a citation, a plaque and a commitment for continued funding of their work from their agency for five years.  Dr. John Marburger, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, presented the awards.

"All of us here at the Energy Department are very pleased that these individuals are being recognized by the President for the intellectual rigor, relevance and high technical standards of their work," Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said.  "We are proud to honor these seven awardees as a means of encouraging promising young scientists and engineers to pursue work in areas of importance to the Department of Energy's energy research and national security missions."

After the White House awards ceremony, the seven researchers described their work at a ceremony at DOE headquarters hosted by DOE Under Secretary for Science Dr. Raymond L. Orbach and NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Thomas P. D'Agostino.

At the DOE event, four of the scientists from its national laboratories were also presented DOE's Office of Science Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award. The winners are:

Daniel W. Bardayan (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
For innovative precision nuclear spectroscopy measurements clarifying the production of elements and radioisotopes in exploding stars, and for mentoring undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral associates as well as organizing a summer school for graduate students to explore exotic beam physics.

Todd Munson (Argonne National Laboratory)
For pioneering developments in algorithms, software, and problem-solving environments for the solution of large-scale optimization problems, and for mentoring students in the summer student program and conducting tutorials to graduate students on numerical optimization. 

Wynne K. Schiffer (Brookhaven National Laboratory)
For pioneering work in integrating neurobiology, chemistry, physics, and instrumentation in order to translate multi-disciplinary discoveries and new knowledge into advances in human health, and for providing educational outreach on brain imaging and drug abuse to educators and the public.

Yanwen Zhang (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
For internationally recognized, seminal contributions to the fields of ion-beam physics and ion-solid interactions in materials, including the development of a novel approach for measuring electronic stopping, and for mentoring high school, undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students and providing Chinese translation of scientific information.

At the same time, three university researchers received the Office of Defense Programs Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award.  NNSA's national security laboratories nominated the recipients in recognition of their work in support of the administration's national security mission.

The winners are:

Christopher J. Roy (Auburn University)
For the development of verification and validation methodologies critical to improving accuracy and building confidence in computational science and engineering simulations, for the development of unsteady hybrid turbulence models for fluid dynamics simulations, and for providing high quality educational opportunities for the next generation of American scientists and engineers.

Wendelin Wright (Stanford University)
For research into the deformation and failure of metals and polymers under dynamic loading using high-speed and spatially-resolved infrared measurements of temperature, for guidance and leadership of fellow researchers, and for her exceptional ability to communicate difficult technical concepts to colleagues and students. 

Michael A. Zingale (Stony Brook University)
For advancing the detailed simulation of turbulent combustion and demonstrating parallel, multi-physics methods used in national security-related applications, for pioneering collaborations with fellow researchers, and for training students in computational astrophysics.

Biographical information on the winners and their award citations are available on the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers Web site.

Media contact(s):

Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806