Energy Department Scientists and Engineers Honored with Presidential Early Career Awards

WASHINGTON, DC — At a White House ceremony today, eight “early career” researchers, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), were honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)—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 were recognized for their research efforts in a variety of issues, from computational biology to atomic, molecular and optical science.

"These awards recognize some of the outstanding people affiliated with the Department of Energy whose extraordinary talents are discovering the solutions to power and secure America's future," Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. "Each honoree has made a unique contribution to fulfilling the Department’s mission and to enhancing scientific knowledge at large. I am proud of the awardees and appreciative of their efforts."

The winning DOE scientists are among 68 researchers supported by nine federal departments and agencies who received the award. In addition to a citation and a plaque, each PECASE winner receives up to five years of funding from their agency to advance his or her research. Dr. John Marburger, Science Advisor to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, presented the awards.

The winning DOE-funded researchers are:

  • Mickey G. Chiu (DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York) for developing the use of neutral pions to identify hot, dense nuclear matter and to study transverse proton spin asymmetries; and for mentoring of graduate students in building advanced instrumentation.
  • Hooman Davoudiasl (DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York) for elucidating experimental signatures for testing the possible existence of extra space-time dimensions; and for providing guest lectures to graduate students as well as organizing international conferences.
  • Bert Debusschere (DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, California) for introducing rigorous, mathematical methods capturing stochastic uncertainties in computational biology and providing a framework for simulation-based discovery; and for service to the Sandia Diversity Council and Foreign National Networking Group.
  • Jennifer S. Martinez (DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico) for the discovery and characterization of templated nanomaterials, biomolecular recognition strategies, and natural products of marine bacteria for robust biological sensing; and for exemplary career-development mentoring of women.
  • Wei Pan (DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico) for leadership in the field of experimental many-particle physics, especially non-Abelian states in ultra-clean two-dimensional systems; and for broad scientific community outreach activities and leadership.
  • Robin Santra (DOE's Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois) for theoretical contributions to the field of atomic, molecular, and optical science in the areas of high-order harmonic generation and strong-field absorption and ionization; and for scientific mentoring of students and the public.
  • Yugang Sun (DOE's Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois) for developing ground-breaking techniques for chemical synthesis and nanofabrication of metal and semiconductor nanomaterials; and for educational activities for the community.
  • Jeanine Cook (New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico) for high-impact research on performance modeling and prediction of future-generation computer architecture; and for her dedication in educating and mentoring future-generation electrical and computer engineers.

While in Washington, DC, the eight researchers were also honored at a ceremony at DOE headquarters with DOE Under Secretary for Science Dr. Raymond L. Orbach and NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Robert Smolen. At the event, the seven DOE laboratory scientists were presented DOE’s Office of Science Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award and Dr. Cook of New Mexico State University received the Office of Defense Programs Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award in recognition of her work in support of NNSA's national security mission.

Seven of the researchers are funded by program offices within the DOE Office of Science: Dr. Chiu by the Office of Nuclear Physics; Dr. Davoudiasl by the Office of High Energy Physics; Dr. Debusschere by the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research; and Drs. Martinez, Pan, Santra and Sun by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Dr. Cook’s research is funded by NNSA.

Media contact(s):
Bethany Shively, (202) 586-5806