NSF's Highest Honor For New Faculty Fosters Integration Of Research And Education

January 25, 1999

The National Science Foundation (NSF) honored 338 outstanding new science and engineering faculty members nationwide in fiscal year 1998 with Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards totaling approximately $80 million. CAREER awards support exceptionally promising college and university junior faculty who are committed to the integration of research and education. The awards range from $200,000 to $500,000 for a period of four to five years. The 1998 awardees were selected from among more than 1,600 applicants.

Wishing to nurture professorial career development, NSF places a high value on the synthesis of research and education as integral to stimulating the discovery and learning process. Career awardees also become eligible to receive the White House's highest honor for new scientists and engineers, the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

"The synergy of frontier-level discovery skills with the learning process and continuous educational innovation lies at the heart of these awards," said NSF Acting Deputy Director Joseph Bordogna. "The nation's cumulative experience in science, mathematics, engineering and technology education tells us that serious discovery and learning skills are interdependent. Engaging students and faculty in integrated inquiry-based research and education experiences thus ensures a world-class science and engineering workforce for the nation."

NSF established the CAREER grants program to help top-performing scientists and engineers develop simultaneously their contributions and commitment to research and education early in their careers. There are nearly 1,400 total CAREER and PECASE award recipients to date.

The CAREER program rewards academic talent in all areas supported by NSF's research and education programs in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. With the establishment of the award in 1995, it supplanted other NSF award programs with similar goals. Beginning in 1997, CAREER awardees became the talent pool for NSF's PECASE nominations.

Examples of 1998 NSF CAREER Awards.

Editors: For a complete list of FY 1998 CAREER award recipients and their project titles, see: http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/career/start.htm

Examples Of 1998 National Science Foundation Career Awards

The National Science Foundation (NSF) honored 338 outstanding faculty members nationwide in fiscal 1998 with Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grants. The awards help scientists and engineers develop simultaneously their contributions to research and education early in their careers. Here are examples of the 1998 awardees' plans for their awards:

Thomas J. Royston
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
University of Illinois-Chicago
Nonlinear Dynamics of Smart Materials Used for Structural Vibro-acoustic Control
Thomas Royston's research addresses the complex problem of modeling, analysis, and experimental investigation of nonlinear characteristics of smart materials, such as piezo-ceramic composites, and investigates their application in vibro-acoustic energy conduction, transduction, dissipation and excitation. The education plan includes outreach activities involving inner-city youth through the medium of music via a non-profit program called "Music Education Reaching Instrumental Talent" (MERIT), which will incorporate a sequence of instructions on "Science and Engineering in Music." The laboratory experience in the Minority Engineering Recruitment and Retention Program will be augmented with "Science and Engineering of Musical Instruments."

Xiao-Jing Wang
Assistant Professor, Physics
Brandeis University
Physiological Basis of Working Memory: Modeling of Prefrontal Cortical Circuitry and Its Neuromodulation
Xiao-Jing Wang is developing realistic, biologically based computer models of cognitive processes in the mammalian brain. His model focuses on the brain circuits and cellular mechanisms of working-memory formation in the prefrontal cortex. Working memory is the storage and manipulation of information during the performance of a task. Along with this research, Wang is enhancing the traditional physics curriculum, helping to develop courses in computational neuroscience and developing interactive computational teaching tools for use in undergraduate neuroscience courses. Such teaching tools may be used in physiology and biochemistry courses.

Noah F. Gans
Professor, The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Telephone Call Centers: Human Factors in the Management of Queueing Systems
Management scientist Noah Gans is studying telephone call centers and other high-volume service operations. These types of operations are representative of many features of the new service economy, in which production, though based on a technologically advanced infrastructure, is fundamentally reliant on human service encounters. To better account for the human element of these systems, the research is integrating models and findings from the behavioral sciences with conventional approaches from more traditional operations research. The research is expected to offer new insights into the economics of service operations and contribute to their improved performance. Gans' research and teaching will promote students' understanding of how human factors should be included in the management of service systems.

Angela Calabrese-Barton
Assistant Professor, Program in Science Education
Teacher's College, Columbia University
Science Teaching and Learning in Economically Disadvantaged Urban Areas
Angela Barton will conduct ethnographic research among homeless persons, using extensive field observations and interviews with students and teachers. Quantitative and qualitative findings will permit her to:

  1. Gain an understanding of the beliefs that students living in urban poverty have about the process of science; the importance of science and literacy in school; the relationship between science and urban culture; and how these beliefs are supported or challenged by the culture of urban poverty including the culture of urban schooling and life in low-income shelters.
  2. Gain an understanding of the beliefs and knowledge that beginning teachers have.
  3. Create an academic program in urban science education at Teachers College and link the program to local urban school reform through collaborative activities.

John P. Toscano
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
John Hopkins University
Time-resolved IR Studies of Organic Reactive Intermediates
John Toscano is researching the time-resolved infrared (TRIR) studies of organic reactive intermediates. TRIR spectroscopy will be used to examine the structure and reactivity of biradicals, carbenes, nitrenium ions and the excited states of ketones and enones. The experimental approach, coupled with computational methods, will enhance basic understanding and will address specific unresolved issues in reactive intermediate chemistry. The educational activities are focused on outreach at the K-12 level, including chemistry demonstrations at local elementary and secondary schools, undergraduate research and the development of research connections with faculty at undergraduate teaching institutions.

Miodrag Potkonjak
Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering
University of California-Los Angeles
CAD Techniques and Tools for Intellectual Property Protection
Miodrag Potkonjak is exploring the use of proprietary designs (reusable cores) in the design of a system on a VLSI (very large scale integrated) computer chip. This new advance in technology is dependent on having reliable and efficient techniques for intellectual property (IP) protection. His research investigates techniques for such protection. It includes a watermarking (signature hiding) approach for protecting the reusable cores and embedded software. Further, he is developing a fingerprinting scheme and a covert channel-based technique for the efficient detection of misappropriated (or stolen) IP. The concept of covert channels can convey to the author information without alerting an illegal owner of IP.
Program contact:
Janet Rutledge
703-306-1384 jrutledg@nsf.gov

National Science Foundation

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