Five MIT faculty members have won Sloan Research Fellowships, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced this month: Denis Auroux, associate professor of mathematics, Victor Chernozhukov, assistant professor of economics, Nergis Mavalvala, assistant professor of physics, Jason Starr, assistant professor of mathematics and Alice Ting, assistant professor of chemistry. They are among 116 young scientists, mathematicians and economists to receive the prestigious fellowship, which provides grants of $45,000 for a two-year period. The fellowships were created by Alfred P. Sloan Jr. in 1955 to provide funds to outstanding researchers early in their academic careers.
Professor David Bartel of biology, a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, has received the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology. Each year a medal and a prize of $25,000 goes to a young scientist for a recent notable discovery in molecular biology. Bartel was chosen for his discoveries on the repertoire of catalytic RNA and the analysis of micro RNA genes and their targets. The award is supported by Pfizer and has been presented since 1962. This year's awards will be presented May 2 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Professor Rodney Brooks of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has been selected to hold the Matsushita Electric Professorship for a five-year term. He was recognized for his "outstanding achievements and leadership in the field of robotics." The Matsushita Professorship is funded through a grant from the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Brooks is director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Catherine Higgins, a junior in aeronautics and astronautics, has received the National Italian American Foundation's Eleanor and Anthony DeFrancis Scholarship. Scholarship winners are selected based on academic merit and have an average GPA of 3.95. The NAIF program gives out more than 100 scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to $15,000.
James Poterba, the Mitsui Professor of Economics and associate head of the Department of Economics, has received a certificate of excellence in TIAA-CREF's ninth annual Paul A. Samuelson Award competition for outstanding scholarly writing on lifelong financial security. Poterba was recognized with Amy Finkelstein of Harvard for their paper, "Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence From the U.K. Annuity Market." The award is named for Nobel laureate and MIT Professor Paul Samuelson.
MIT senior Reid W. Barton has received the AMS-MAA-SIAM Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize for Outstanding Research in Mathematics by an Undergraduate Student. The award is presented jointly by the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Barton received the award in recognition of outstanding research in a paper titled "Packing Densities of Patterns."
Gautam Mukunda, a Ph.D. candidate in international relations in the Department of Political Science, is among 30 recipients of this year's Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. The fellowship honors immigrants and children of immigrants. Gautam was born in Washington, D.C., to Indian parents. Fellows receive up to a $20,000 stipend plus half tuition for as many as two years of graduate study at any U.S. institute of higher learning.