Three young professors at the University of California, Santa Barbara are among this year's winners of prestigious Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The new Sloan Fellows are engaged in research at the frontiers of physics, chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, and neuroscience.
The UCSB winners this year are Jeffrey W. Bode, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Sergei Gukov, associate professor of physics and mathematics; and Tommaso Treu, assistant professor of physics.
Bode received the Sloan Foundation Fellowship for his work on the discovery of new classes of reaction that allow for the preparation of a wide range of valuable organic molecules in a highly efficient and environmentally friendly manner. His new catalysts and processes will be used in the discovery and manufacture of new drugs.
Bode completed his doctorate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland in 2001. He joined UCSB's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2003, following a two-year postdoctoral fellowship with Keisuke Suzuki, professor at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Gukov's research is in theoretical particle physics, string theory, and related areas of mathematics, such as geometry and topology. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 2001. Gukov was a Clay Mathematics Institute Long-Term Prize Fellow at Harvard University from 2001 to 2004. He was an associate professor at Caltech from 2004 to 2005 and joined the UCSB faculty in 2006.
Treu's research is focused on understanding galaxy formation, with an emphasis on the role of dark matter and super massive black holes. He received his Ph.D. from the Scuola Normale Superiore, in Pisa, Italy, in 2001, and did postdoctoral research at Caltech and UCLA. He joined the faculty at UCSB in 2004.
The new Sloan Research Fellows were among 116 winners selected from hundreds of highly qualified scientists in the early stages of their careers on the basis of their exceptional promise to contribute to the advancement of knowledge. In the 52 years that the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been awarding research fellowships, 35 former Sloan Fellows have won Nobel Prizes.
The Sloan Fellowships are intended to enhance the careers of the very best young faculty members in specified fields of science. The award is for $45,000 over a two-year period. Funds are awarded directly to the Fellow's institution and may be used by the Fellow for such purposes as equipment, technical assistance, professional travel, trainee support, or any other activity directly related to the Fellow's research.
The Sloan Research Fellowships were established in 1955 to provide support and recognition to early-career scientists and scholars, often in their first appointments to university faculties, who were trying to set up laboratories and establish their independent research projects with little or no outside support. Financial assistance, even in modest amounts, in the careers of promising young scientists is seen as critically important.