Dawson selected as PECASE winner

July 10, 2009

Joel L. Dawson, the Mark Hyman, Jr. Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and principal investigator in the Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL), has been selected as a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient, as announced July 9, 2009 by the White House.

Joel is one of 100 beginning researchers who were singled out for this honor--the highest recognition bestowed by the United States government on young professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The recipient scientists and engineers, including two other members of the MIT faculty (MIT News Office, July 10, 2009), will receive their awards in the Fall at a White House ceremony. Nine Federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious young scientists and engineers—researchers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for strengthening America’s leadership in science and technology and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions.

"These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama said. "With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world."

Joel Dawson joined MIT as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) in September of 2004. He received his S.B. and MEng degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1996 and 1997, respectively. While attaining his MEng degree, Professor Dawson participated in the VI-A Internship program at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003.

During his doctoral research, Dawson worked in the area of RF circuit design as a part of Professor Thomas H. Lee's research group. He investigated innovative techniques to improve power dissipation and linearity of power amplifiers, a key component of wireless systems. In 2003 Joel co-founded Aspendos Communications, a startup company based in San Jose, CA. Professor Dawson was also the recipient of an NSF Career Award in 2008.

Dawson and his research group design RF and mixed-signal CMOS ICs for communications systems and medical applications. Dawson's research, taking advantage of economic forces favoring heavily digital chips, explores the optimal division of functionality between the analog and digital domains. Their approach is to exercise architectural creativity while exploring the application of mathematical optimization techniques to allocate resources between analog and digital subsystems.

The PECASE awards, established by President Clinton in February 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected on the basis of two criteria: Pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and a commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Winning scientists and engineers receive up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions.

Congratulations Joel!