Obama Administration Honors DOE Scientists and Engineers with Presidential Early Career Awards

Obama Administration Honors DOE Scientists and Engineers with Presidential Early Career Awards

WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama Administration has named 12 “early career” researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers – the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are early in their independent research careers. DOE awardees are being recognized for their research efforts in a variety of fields – from research to help our nation achieve energy independence, to theoretical research on nuclear physics, to research on environmentally responsible chemistry.

“These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country,” President Obama said. “With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world.”

“The Department of Energy has scores of outstanding people working hard every day on critical and innovative scientific research,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “Their talents are contributing to the discoveries that will help chart America's energy future and combat climate change. Each of these honorees has made a unique contribution to fulfilling the Department’s mission and I congratulate them on their accomplishment.”

The winning DOE scientists are among 100 researchers supported by nine federal departments and agencies who will receive 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. The recipient scientists and engineers will receive their awards in the Fall at a White House ceremony.

The winning DOE-funded researchers are:

  • Ivan Vitev (Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico) for seminal theoretical research on energy loss in the quark-gluon plasma, providing clear insights on crucial properties of the high energy-density regime of quantum chromodynamics as explored at the Department of Energy’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider facility; and for the organization of international physics workshops and colloquia.
  • Gary Baker (Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee) for his internationally recognized pioneering research and achievements in environmentally-responsible chemistry that have lead to new paradigms in separation sciences, chemical analysis, biomass processing, fuel cell technology and energy storage applications and for his excellent and extensive mentorship of developing scientists.
  • Stefan Gerhardt (Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory) for his innovative an seminal work by enabling the systematic diagnosis for interpretation of key stability characteristics of a broad range of magnetically-confined toroidal plasmas and for his outstanding contributions to improving understanding of fundamental plasma physics in laboratory plasmas; and for exceptional student mentoring and outreach.
  • Paul Sorensen (Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York) for original research demonstrating quark number scaling in the elliptic flow of hadrons in nucleus-nucleus collisions that together with theoretical studies indicated the formation of a new form of matter - the strongly interacting quark-gluon plasma; and for service on the governing council of the STAR experiment.
  • Cecilia Aragon (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California) for seminal research in workflow management and visual analytics for data-intensive scientific research, including the development of the Fourier contour analysis algorithm and Sunfall; and for leadership in advancing diversity in computing.
  • Jason Graetz (Brookhaven National Laboratory) for outstanding contributions towards achieving national energy independence through excellent experimental work in elucidating the catalytic reaction in complex metal hydrides and in synthesizing and characterizing potential hydrogen storage compounds and for outreach activities with students and the scientific community.
  • Gianluigi Ciovati (Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia) for his work on the dependence of cavity Q-value on accelerating gradient and the causes of degradation of Q-value at higher gradients that is making a significant impact on the international superconducting accelerator applications community; and for outstanding mentoring of graduate students.
  • Jeffrey Neaton (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of the electronic structure and transport properties of condensed matter, in particular nanostructures; and for his extraordinary record of service and outreach to the scientific and educational communities.
  • Joshua Breslau (Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory) for his playing an essential role in the development of the massively-parallel fusion magnetohydrodynamics code M3D; for his original and unique applications of this code to the nonlinear dynamics; and for his involvement with students at the laboratory and in the National Science Bowl.
  • Alexandre Tartakovsky (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) for pioneering application of Lagrangian particle simulation methods to the modeling of subsurface hydrologic processes, including multiphase flow, flow in fractured media, biogeochemical processes, and mixing-controlled precipitation reactions; for significant contributions to quantifying fluid flow uncertainty; and for teaching and mentoring students in multiscale mathematics.
  • Lynford Goddard (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) for his innovative research in building high-speed chip-seal monolithic photonic systems that contribute to device design, modeling and fabrication, as well as the characterization of novel semiconductor materials.
  • Thao (Vicky) Nguyen (Johns Hopkins University) for the development of advanced models of the thermomechanical behavior of viscoelastic and inelastic materials used in technologies critical to national defense and homeland security, for contributions to fabricate these materials and develop these technologies, and for the excellence in teaching the development and implementation of material models to the next generation of American scientists and engineers