On Friday, Nov. 5, President Barack Obama named seven researchers from MIT as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The awards are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
This year, 85 individuals nationwide were honored by the White House, and MIT had the greatest number of recipients from a single institution. The University of California system had four recipients; Stanford University had three.
The recipients from MIT are:
- Scott J. Aaronson, the TIBCO Career Development Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS);
- Amy N. Finkelstein, professor in the Department of Economics (read more);
- Manolis Kellis, EECS associate professor;
- Michael T. Laub, assistant professor in the Department of Biology;
- Laura E. Schulz, Class of 1943 Career Development Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences;
- Katrin Wehrheim, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics;
- Martin W. Zwierlein, assistant professor in the Department of Physics.
The awards — established in 1996 —honor and support scientists and engineers whose work shows promise in advancing the nation’s goals, tackling grand challenges, and contributing to the American economy. The award recipients receive research grants for up to five years to further their studies in support of critical government missions.
Ten federal departments and agencies join together to nominate the most meritorious scientists and engineers for the awards. Zwierlein was nominated by the Department of Defense; Finkelstein and Kellis by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services; and Aaronson, Laub, Schulz and Wehrheim by the National Science Foundation.
"Science and technology have long been at the core of America’s economic strength and global leadership," President Obama said in a statement. "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.”
The awardees will be honored at a White House ceremony; a date has not yet been determined.