Georgia Tech Faculty Takes Three Sloan Fellowships

Georgia Tech Faculty Takes Three Sloan Fellowships

Faculty from the Colleges of
Sciences and Computing are honored as outstanding researchers.

Three faculty members from
the Georgia Institute of Technology were awarded 2011 Sloan Research
Fellowships by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Christopher J. Peikert, from the
College of Computing, along with Silas D. Alben and Shina Tan in the College of
Sciences, were three of 118 outstanding researchers selected from across the
country. They were the only recipients of the award from the state of Georgia. Awarded
annually since 1955, the fellowships are given to early-career scientists and
scholars in recognition of achievement and the potential to contribute
substantially to their fields.

Drawn from 54 colleges and
universities in the U.S. and Canada, this year’s fellows represent an
extraordinarily
broad range of research interests, including an astronomer who studies the
birth of new planets, a computer scientist who examines how changes in computer
network architecture can save energy, an economist who investigates the
game-theoretical foundations of cooperation, and a
mathematician
who uses geometry to model how the brain represents stimuli.

“The scientists and
researchers selected for this year’s Sloan Research Fellowships represent the
very brightest rising stars of this generation of scholars,” says Paul
L. Joskow, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “The
Foundation is proud to be able to support their work at this important stage in
their careers.”

Silas
Alben, an assistant professor in the School of Mathematics, studies how fluids
flow and exert forces on flexible solid bodies. His research is designed to enhance
understanding of how fish swim in an effort to guide the design of swimming
robots.  He also investigates how thin
solid plates can deform to create novel three-dimensional structures.

Shina
Tan, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, studies the theory of
dilute cold matter, which is millions of times thinner than the air and
billions of times colder than an average home freezer. His research may have
applications to sensitive detection and precision measurements.

Christopher
Peikert, assistant professor in the School of Computer Science, focuses on
geometric “lattices” as a new mathematical foundation for cryptography (the
science of developing secret codes and the use of those codes in an encryption
system). In principle, quantum computers could break much of the cryptography
in wide use today, so there is a strong need for alternative schemes. The
lattice approach yields very simple schemes that are highly efficient and
parallelizable.

Administered and funded by
the Sloan Foundation, the fellowships are awarded in close cooperation
with the
scientific community. Potential fellows must be nominated for recognition by
their peers and are subsequently selected by an independent panel of senior
scholars.

The $50,000 fellowships are
awarded in chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics,
evolutionary and
computational molecular biology, neuroscience and physics. In 2012, in
recognition of the important work done by Sloan-sponsored researchers working
on the Census of Marine Life, the award program will be
expanded to include fellowships in ocean sciences.

For a complete list of
winners, visit: www.sloan.org/fellowships/page/21

Adapted from a release by the
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation
is
a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in
New York City.
Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and chief executive
officer of the
General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original
research and
education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic
performance. www.sloan.org.

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