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Energy Department Early Career Scientists and Engineers Honored

June 13, 2005 - 4:50pm


WASHINGTON, DC -- At an awards ceremony today, nine “early career” researchers funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) were honored for their work ranging from the development and synthesis of nanoscale materials to improved medical diagnostic imaging.

DOE’s scientists are among 58 researchers supported by eight federal departments and agencies receiving the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The Presidential award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent careers.  Each Presidential award winner received a citation, a plaque and a commitment for continued funding of their work from their agency for five years.  Dr. John Marburger, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, presented the awards.

“The Department of Energy is proud that these researchers are making important contributions, in a wide range of fields, to innovation and technology for energy, economic and national security,” Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman said.  “If the outstanding efforts of these scientists and engineers are any indication of the future, I have no doubt they will ensure America’s scientific leadership far into the next century.”

Before the awards ceremony, the nine researchers described their work at a ceremony at DOE headquarters hosted by NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks and director of DOE’s Office of Science, Dr. Raymond L. Orbach.

At the DOE event, six of the scientists from DOE national laboratories were also presented the DOE's Office of Science Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award. The winners are:

John Arrington, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Ill., forhis research into the quark distributions of nuclei which has provided a compelling new look into the short-range structure of nuclei;

William J. Ashmanskas, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, Ill., forapplying state-of-the-art digital electronics techniques to Fermilab accelerator instrumentation and controls;

Hong Qin, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, N.J., forhis contributions to the physics of high-intensity particle beams, with application to ion-beam fusion energy, and for his work on electromagnetic effects in magnetically-confined plasmas, with applications in magnetic fusion energy;

Robert B. Ross, Argonne National Laboratory, for his design of parallel computer file systems and high-performance interfaces to manage large datasets.  His work is helping users worldwide overcome the input/output bottleneck that has hampered performance on commercial parallel computers;

Paul Vaska, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., for his leadership and scientific innovation in the field of medical imaging physics, particularly for the development of novel instrumentation and techniques to improve the capabilities of positron emission tomography in medicine; and

Zhangbu Xu, Brookhaven National Laboratory, for his research techniques and technical developments applied to the search for a new state of matter at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, a world-class accelerator for nuclear physics.

At the same time, three university researchers received the Office of Defense Programs Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award.  NNSA’s national security laboratories nominated the recipients in recognition of their work in support of the administration's national security mission.

The winners are:

Wei Cai, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., for simulating the interactions of microscopic defects to predict materials' properties under various conditions;

William P. King, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga.,for his work in nanoscale heat transfer and thermomechanical properties of small scale materials, which are critical to nonproliferation and nuclear weapons stockpile surety; and

Yunfeng Lu, Tulane University, New Orleans, La., for his work in the synthesis of novel nanoscale materials with national security sensing and detection applications.

Biographical information on the winners and their award citations are available at

Media contact:
Jeff Sherwood, 202/586-5806