February 28, 2010

Two Cornell Associate Professors Awarded 2010 Sloan Research Fellowship

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Prof. David Bindel, computer science, and Prof. Jiwoong Park, chemistry and chemical biology, have been selected as 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows.

The Sloan Foundation, which awards 118 fellowships across seven science disciplines each year, aims to stimulate the research of young scholars with $50,000 grants over a two-year period.

Scientists are nominated by peers in their field and then selected by the Foundation for past performance and potential to continue conducting meaningful research. If chosen, a fellow’s institution oversees the use of the funds.

Bindel graduated from University of Maryland in 1999 with a B.S. in mathematics and computer science. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California-Berkeley in 2006 and began teaching at Cornell in 2009.

He creates computer simulations of everything from microelectromechanical systems to photonic circuits. Engineers use Bindel’s research to model systems as diverse as cell phone components to musical instruments. His studies often fuse software programming, quantitative analysis and physical modeling.

Bindel hopes to use the grant to help his students.

“The grant was really a pleasant surprise,” he said. “I’ll probably use the money to support a graduate student working with me on my research.

Bindel currently works with two graduate assistants, but as his research expands he expects to take another one or two on board.

Park began teaching on Cornell’s faculty in 2006 after receiving a B.S. degree in physics from Seoul National University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California-Berkeley in 2003.

He studies physics and chemistry on the nanometer scale with applications in material synthesis and design, electronic and optical hardware, and improved measurement strategies. By exploring single molecules, nanocrystals, nanowires, carbon nanotubes and their arrays, Park investigates how fundamental physical quanta —electrons, photons and phonons — act with each other on a nano-level.

Park is unsure how he will use the grant.

“I’m sure I’ll put it to good use,” Park said. “I study a fundamentally interesting subject that can really be useful.”

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation began awarding fellowships in 1955 to scientists in physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Researchers working in chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics and neuroscience, however, can now also receive fellowships.

This year, 23 of the fellows came from Ivy League institutions.

Original Author: Dan Robbins