photo of Susan Fou
Susan Fou (photo: Brian Wilson)

Name: Susan Fou.

Position: Web editor in the Office of Development Communications. Maintaining the websites for the Office of Development, including sites for volunteers and for the Aspire fundraising campaign. Producing videos and other types of online media. Managing the monthly e-newsletter for volunteers and the new monthly e-mail for Annual Giving called Princeton Pause.

Quote: “Producing videos for our website has been new to me and great fun. In a previous job I worked at film festivals so I watched a lot of movies, and now I’m getting to make movies. And as an alumna — I graduated in 1994 — it’s great to work here and have contact with so many members of the Princeton community.”

Other interests: Writing a food blog called Training for a 10-mile race. Playing piano.

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Celeste Nelson, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Jason Petta, an assistant professor of physics, have been chosen for the highly selective David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Fellowships for Science and Engineering.

The fellowship program helps promising early-career professors pursue research with few restrictions. Each year a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers selects 20 researchers to receive $875,000 each over five years.

Both Nelson and Petta joined the Princeton faculty in 2007. Nelson’s research focuses on understanding how the final architectures of living tissues and organs is determined, specifically focusing on how individual cells integrate complex biological signals (both biochemical and mechanical) dynamically and spatially within tissues to direct the development of organs.

Petta is an experimental condensed matter physicist. His research group isolates single quantum states in semiconductor compounds by making super-small devices using advanced nanofabrication techniques. He is interested in controlling single quantum states in order to create “quantum bits,” the elementary building blocks of a future quantum computer.

Popular Science magazine has named Princeton physicist Ali Yazdani as one of its “Brilliant 10” in its seventh annual listing of top young scientists.

Described as “The Atomic Visionary” by the magazine, Yazdani gained attention for his work using a desk-size scanning-tunneling microscope to study high-temperature superconductors. The device can cool a sample to just above absolute zero, seal it in a near-perfect vacuum and block the faintest noise. “As a result,” the magazine said, “he can continuously track single atoms for months at a time.”

Yazdani, who came to Princeton in 2005, recently has overturned the accepted thinking on high-temperature superconductors with provocative results reported in Science and Nature magazines. He conducts his research in the Princeton Nanoscale Microscopy Laboratory, a state-of-the-art, ultra-low-noise lab constructed at the site of an old cyclotron in the basement of Jadwin Hall. Yazdani and his group study condensed matter physics, searching for simple, unifying explanations for complicated phenomena observed in liquids and solids.

Gaetana Marrone-Puglia, a professor of French and Italian at Princeton, has been awarded the Fondazione Rubbettino First Prize for her work in editing the Encyclopedia of Italian Studies. The encyclopedia includes contributions from some 240 international scholars on a range of Italian cultural and literary subjects. The $5,000 prize is named for the late Italian publisher Rosario Rubbettino.

Marrone-Puglia, a Princeton faculty member since 1985, specializes in modern Italian literature and postwar Italian cinema.

Erik Sorensen, Princeton’s Arthur Allan Patchett Professor in Organic Chemistry, has has been selected to receive the American Chemical Society’s Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award for excellence in organic chemistry.

Sorensen, who joined the faculty in 2003, specializes in the field of organic natural product synthesis, seeking to understand and appreciate the efficiency with which nature creates architecturally complex, biologically active natural products. Part of that effort involves seeking out chemical reactions that can transform commonplace chemicals into molecules that show promise as therapeutic agents.

The Cope Scholar Award consists of $5,000, a certificate, and a $40,000 unrestricted research grant to be assigned by the recipient to any university or nonprofit institution.