WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama Administration has 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 research efforts in a variety of fields - from research to help our nation achieve energy independence, to exploring the realms of space to identify dark matter. These awardees are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

"Science and technology have long been at the core of America's economic strength and global leadership," President Obama said.  "I am confident that these individuals, who have shown such tremendous promise so early in their careers, will go on to make breakthroughs and discoveries that will continue to move our nation forward in the years ahead."

"These gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," said Secretary Steven Chu. "The awards recognize ingenuity, dedication, diligence and talent. I congratulate the 2009 PECASE awardees and wish them continued success towards new discoveries and advances in science, energy research, and national security."

The winning DOE scientists are among 85 researchers supported by 10 federal departments and agencies who will receive the 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 recipient scientists and engineers will receive their awards in the Fall at a White House ceremony.

The winning DOE-funded researchers are:

  • Ilke Arslan, Ph.D., University of California Davis.  For the advanced characterization of energy and hydrogen storage nanomaterials used in technologies critical to national defense and homeland security, for advancing the technologies necessary to characterize these materials, and for excellence in outreach and mentoring of the next generation of American scientists and engineers.
  • Eric D. Bauer, Ph.D., Los Alamos National Laboratory.  For pioneering condensed matter physics research through the discovery and synthesis of new materials, especially strongly correlated and f-electron systems, and the elucidation of their novel physical properties; and for outreach activities with students and the scientific community.
  • Jeremy T. Busby, Ph.D., Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  For excellence in research leading to the development of high performance cast stainless steels, a critical part of the U.S. Contributions to ITER project, and for his mentoring of students both as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan and at ORNL.
  • Gavin E. Crooks, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  For groundbreaking development of the Crooks Fluctuation Theorem of statistical mechanics to describe thermodynamics for systems far from equilibrium which impact nano-scale device performance, materials design, and energy storage and capture; and for excellent and extensive mentorship of developing scientists.
  • Juan Estrada, Ph.D., Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.  For his widely-recognized contributions to high-energy physics and particle astrophysics experiments, and his invention of a new detector concept that can extend searches for dark matter particles into a range not covered by existing experiments; and for actively involving high school science students and teachers in this research.
  • Dillon Fong, Ph.D., Argonne National Laboratory.  For significant contributions to the understanding of nanoscale size effects on ferroelectric phase transitions and to the advancement and application of in situ synchrotron x-ray techniques for the study of thin film heterostructures critical to the development of new materials for energy technologies; and for broad scientific community outreach and mentoring of students.
  • Jacob M. Hooker, Ph.D., Brookhaven National Laboratory.  For pioneering research on adapting modern synthetic chemistry to the development of new tools for tracking and quantifying biochemical transformations and the movement of complex molecules in living systems, as well as outreach and mentorship to visiting students and scholars.
  • Gianluca Iaccarino, Ph.D., Stanford University.  For his extensive and deep scientific contributions in the areas of turbulent flow and uncertainty quantifications and quantified margins of uncertainty, which are amplified for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) community through his position of intellectual leadership at the NNSA Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program Center at Stanford.
  • De-en Jiang, Ph.D., Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  For internationally recognized, pioneering computational research in probing novel properties of nanostructures and chemically modified interfaces for chemical problems in separations and catalysis; and for an extraordinary record of leadership and outreach to the scientific and educational communities.
  • Sergei V. Kalinin, Ph.D., Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  For extraordinary insights into scanning probe microscopy principles and applying them to fundamental research in phase transitions and energy conversion on the nanoscale, and for founding an international nanoscience workshop series and serving as an instructor in this series.
  • Trent R. Northen, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  For pioneering analysis of metabolomic features of biological systems with previously unattainable sensitivity and spatial resolution, providing new insights impacting biofuel development, understanding biofilms, and biological responses to low dose ionizing radiation; and for community service and diverse educational outreach.
  • Elena V. Shevchenko, Ph.D., Argonne National Laboratory. For development of breakthrough research techniques assembling nanosized building blocks into mondispersed supercrystals with controllable size, shape, and composition with unique electronic, optical, and magnetic properties; and for service to scientific and lay communities as an enthusiastic instructor and mentor.
  • Jacob G. Wacker, Ph.D., SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. For the construction of new and imaginative models of elementary particles, and the development of strategies that have increased the reach and breadth of accelerator searches for new particles at the highest  energies; and for his strong engagement with the experimental community to advance these new research directions.

For the full list of researchers and scientists receiving awards today please read the White House Press Release.


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