As noted today, July 23, 2012 by the MIT News Office, "Five MIT researchers win presidential early career honors. Jarillo-Herrero, Lu, Pathak, Sinha and Thaler among 96 winners."
President Barack Obama today named five members of the MIT faculty as recipients of Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.
Among the 96 honored, the winners from MIT are Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, the Mitsui career development assistant professor in the Department of Physics; Timothy K. Lu ’03, MEng ’03, PhD ’08, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Parag A. Pathak, an associate professor in the Department of Economics; Pawan Sinha SM ’92, PhD ’95, a professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; and Jesse Thaler, an assistant professor of physics.
Professor Tim Lu, a principal investigator in the Research Lab of Electronics at MIT, and an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, was nominated for the PECASE Award by the Department of Defense and cited "for his outstanding research contributions to the establishment of innovative synthetic biology platforms and for pioneering applications of synthetic biology to materials science, nanotechnology and infectious diseases."
Tim received his undergraduate and M.Eng. degrees from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He obtained an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and Ph.D. from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Medical Engineering and Medical Physics Program. Tim has won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, Grand Prize in the National Inventor Hall of Fame's Collegiate Inventors Competition, and the Leon Reznick Memorial Prize for "outstanding performance in research" from Harvard Medical School. He has also been selected as a Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences and a Siebel Scholar.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President coordinates the awards, which were established by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Eleven federal departments and agencies joined together to nominate the most meritorious scientists and engineers this year. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.
“Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people,” Obama said in a statement. “The impressive accomplishments of today’s awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead.”
July 31, 2012 UPDATE:
The 96 PECASE award recipients, including EECS Professor Tim Lu, received their award in a ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC including a meeting with President Obama at the White House. The official announcement of this July 31 event noted that Science and Technology Advisor John Holdren conferred the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) to the 96 outstanding researchers at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History followed by a gathering of the recipients in the East Room of the White House with President Obama. Following their meeting with the President, the awardees took part in a series of briefings with Office of Science and Technology Policy staff at the White House.
PECASE originated in 1996, when President Clinton commissioned the National Science and Technology Council to establish an award that would recognize young scientists and engineers conducting critical research.
Photo: President Barack Obama addresses 2011 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipients in the East Room of the White House, July 31, 2012. Professor Lu is standing second row up on the immediate right. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).