Abhay Ashtekar, Evan Pugh Professor of Physics, holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Physics, and director of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos, has been selected by the American Physical Society to receive the Einstein Prize, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the field of gravitational physics. He was selected for his groundbreaking work in loop quantum gravity, a quantum theory of spacetime, which has become a leading approach to the unification of general relativity and quantum physics. Ashtekar continues to play a seminal role in the development of this field as well as its sub-field, loop quantum cosmology.
Amie Boal, assistant professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology, has been selected as one of 13 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars for 2018 by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The award is presented to chemists that are within the first five years of their academic careers, have created an outstanding independent body of scholarship, and are deeply committed to education. In her research, Boal is working to understand the structure and mechanism of enzymes that require metal ions for catalysis.
Luiz de Viveiros, assistant professor of physics, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science to receive funding for his research as part of the DOE’s Early Career Research Program. The program is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early years of their careers. De Viveiros focuses his research on neutrinos, nature’s most abundant particle with mass, and the search for the mysterious dark matter, which makes up more than 80 percent of the matter in the universe.
G. Jogesh Babu, Distinguished Professor of Statistics and Astronomy and Astrophysics and director of the Center for Astrostatistics, is the 2018 winner of the Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research. He was selected by the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) Board of Trustees for “his vision and dedication in helping to build the astrostatistics community for more than two decades, his commitment to young researchers in the field, and his research contributions to the analysis of astronomical data.”
Rebekah Dawson, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics, has been awarded the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). Recipients of the award, each of whom is in the first two years of a tenure-track position, receive a grant to enhance their research during the early stages of their careers. Dawson focuses her research on understanding how planetary systems beyond our solar system originate.
Peter Hudson, Verne M. Willaman Professor of Biology, has been honored with the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year Award by Kish Bank. He was selected in recognition of “his work as a research scientist, an educator dedicated to the next generation of scientists, an impassioned protector of global animal populations, and his recognition of the delicate balance among all life forms with particular sensitivity to the implications of his work for human populations.” Hudson’s research combines fieldwork, laboratory studies, and mathematical modeling to explore the ecology of wildlife diseases.
Edward O’Brien, assistant professor of chemistry, has been selected to receive the American Chemical Society (ACS) OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry for research summarized in a scientific research paper. O’Brien’s research sought to identify new sources of mechanical forces acting on ribosomes—the molecular machines that make proteins—how those forces are transmitted across the ribosome, and their impact on the action of this molecular machine.
Andrew Read, Evan Pugh University Professor of Biology and Entomology, Eberly Professor of Biotechnology, and director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), one of the nation’s oldest honorary societies. He was also awarded the 2018 Penn State President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration, which is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research, or creative accomplishment and service. Read’s research focuses on the ecology and evolutionary genetics of infectious disease, particularly pathogen evolution–related issues that may harm human health, such as antibiotic and vaccine resistance.