The Big Questions series features perspectives from the five recipients of the Department of Energy Office of Science’s 2019 Distinguished Scientists Fellows Award describing their research and what they plan to do with the award. This is an introduction to the series by the Director of the Office of Science, Chris Fall.
Big science requires big commitments. Thankfully, we here at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science are all about the big ideas that push discovery forward.
That’s why I was so pleased recently to recognize five researchers as our first group of DOE Office of Science Distinguished Scientists Fellows: Sally Dawson of Brookhaven National Laboratory, Ian Foster of Argonne National Laboratory, Joshua Frieman of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Barbara Jacak of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and José Rodriguez of Brookhaven National Laboratory. Established by the America COMPETES Act, the program acknowledges the work of some of our most eminent scientists.
Each one of our 10 national laboratories nominated no more than two of their best, brightest, and experienced scientists. They especially emphasized researchers who collaborate heavily with scientists at institutions of higher education. Our expert program staff members then sorted through the entries to pick just five. They judged them on their discoveries as well as their willingness to mentor younger scientists. Knowing the quality of talent we have out there, it must have been a very hard selection!
All five scientists have done research fundamental to advances in their field, from discovering the Higgs Boson to cracking the chemistry behind more efficient catalysts. They represent the spectrum of research the Office of Science supports. Their research answers the biggest questions of our universe while creating the foundation for future technology and applied science.
In addition to recognizing their past work, the award provides financial support to help them pursue upcoming endeavors. We know that long-term, sustained funding is essential to innovation. All of these scientists have only been able to do their work because the Office of Science supports them and their laboratories. With each scientist receiving one million dollars over three years, they’ll be able to pursue this work even further. Although each researcher will use this funding differently, all of them plan to bring more graduate students and post-docs into their laboratories. In this way, the award helps create the structure that develops the Distinguished Scientists Fellows of the future.
Here at the DOE’s Office of Science, we love to talk about the research we support. We’re thrilled to introduce you to our Distinguished Scientists Fellows and share their stories.
The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://www.energy.gov/science.