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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

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Three receive NSF CAREER awards

The National Science Foundation has granted CAREER awards, its most prestigious grants for scientists early in their careers, to three Princeton faculty members, Craig Arnold, Benjamin Sudakov and Olga Troyanskaya.

Arnold, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, received a $500,000, five-year grant for a project aimed at developing new ways of processing materials that could result in improved batteries and other devices. His project involves using lasers to modify materials used in batteries and conducting rigorous studies to understand the relations between the processing techniques and the materials' performance. The grant is titled "Laser Modified Transport in Electrochemical Materials."

Sudakov, an assistant professor of mathematics, received a five-year grant of $409,000 for a project titled "Methods and Challenges in Discrete Mathematics." He plans to research problems related to Ramsey theory, graph colorings, extremal combinatorics, and random and pseudo-random graphs. He also intends to work on the application of these areas to the field of theoretical computer science. His project encompasses a wide range of educational measures, including developing a series of courses for seniors and graduate students related to these research problems.

Troyanskaya, an assistant professor of computer science and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, received a five-year grant of $1 million to combine computational and experimental techniques for analyzing networks of biological processes within organisms. Part of her project, "An Integrated Approach to the Study of Biological Process Specific Networks," involves analyzing genomic data and creating computer models that simulate biological networks. Another part focuses on lab experiments to test the validity of the computer models. Combining these approaches, Troyanskaya expects to develop computer models that are faster than lab experiments and more accurate than purely computational methods.

The CAREER program supports young, tenure-track "teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization." The grants are intended to "build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education."

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