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White House honors young profs, alumni

Two MIT professors and four alumni have received 2001 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the nation's highest honor for professionals at the outset of their research careers.

The awards, established in 1996, are administered by eight federal departments and agencies, which nominate young scientists and engineers whose work is of greatest benefit to the agency's mission. The awardees receive up to five years of funding from their nominating agencies to further their research in support of critical government missions.

The 60 recipients, named by President Bush on July 5, will be honored on July 12 at the White House.

Assistant Professor Christine Ortiz of materials science and engineering was nominated by the National Science Foundation. Assistant Professor Scott R. Manalis of the Media Laboratory was nominated by the Department of Defense.

Ortiz, who received the B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1992 and the M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1997, has been on the MIT faculty since 1999. Her research program involves nanomechanical studies of biological and biomimetic macromolecular systems.

Manalis, who received the B.S. in physics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1994 and the Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University in 1998, is also a visiting scholar at Stanford University. His research involves developing nanofabrication technologies for building molecular-scale devices, the use of MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) for novel detection schemes, and applying these devices to biomolecular recognition.

Alumni honored are Douglas Adams (S.M. 1997), assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University; T. Vince Cianciolo (Ph.D. 1994), research assistant at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Mona Singh (Ph.D. 1996), assistant professor of computer science at Princeton University; and Peter A. Traykovski (O.C.E. 1994) of the applied physics and ocean engineering department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 17, 2002.

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