Stephen Garoff and Hael Collins Win Mellon College of Science Awards for Education

The Richard Moore Award: Stephen Garoff

Physics Professor Stephen Garoff was awarded the 2018 Richard Moore Award for his significant educational contributions over his more than three decades with the college. Throughout his career, Garoff has helped to implement valuable interdisciplinary courses such as Physics I for Engineering Students, Physics II for Biological Sciences and Chemistry Majors, and the Modern Physics Laboratory, which has become a highlight of the undergraduate curriculum. He also developed and instituted the Department of Physics’ graduate student orientation program and graduate student visitation weekend, one of the first of its kind among physics departments across the country.

Julius Ashkin Teaching Award: Hael Collins

Physics Special Faculty Lecturer Hael Collins won the 2018 Julius Ashkin Teaching Award for his devotion and effectiveness in teaching. Collins has taught an impressive 13 different courses in the past seven years. Students profess their appreciation for both his teaching style and the rigorous content of his classes. He balances difficult coursework with subtle humor, genuine care and a significant amount of extra time and effort to prepare additional study materials. Through his dedication and care, Collins has crafted the ideal environment to encourage and inspire his students to learn, to push themselves and to succeed.

Fonseca Named Kavčić-Moura Professor of Mathematics

University Professor Irene Fonseca was named the recipient of Carnegie Mellon’s first Kavčić-Moura Professorship in Mathematics. The professorships were established to provide sustained, long-term support for scholars across the university whose breakthroughs and discoveries have the potential to impact the world where human life and technology meet. The professorship in mathematics was one of four Kavčić-Moura Professorships to be awarded this year.

Named in honor of inventors José M. F. Moura and Aleksandar Kavčić, the professorships are funded through the university’s proceeds from the 2016 settlement of the patent infringement lawsuit against Marvell Technology Group Ltd. and Marvell Semiconductor Inc.

A member of the MCS faculty since 1987, Fonseca directs the university’s renowned Center for Nonlinear Analysis. She is one of the world’s leading researchers in applied mathematics and has received numerous recognitions for her work as a researcher and teacher. Most recently, she was named to the Abel Committee by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, where she will help to select the winner of the prestigious Abel Prize, the top prize recognizing lifetime contributions to mathematics.

Shinn-Cunningham Selected to Lead New Neuroscience Institute at CMU

Renowned auditory neuroscientist Barbara Shinn-Cunningham will join the Carnegie Mellon faculty during the 2018-19 academic year to help establish and lead a new, cross-disciplinary neuroscience institute that will create innovative tools and technologies critical to advancing brain science.

Shinn-Cunningham’s leadership of the new institute will coalesce Carnegie Mellon’s existing resources in neuroscience to expand collaborative research across the biological sciences, cognitive neuroscience and psychology, as well as to deepen connections to Carnegie Mellon’s core strengths in other disciplines.

Shinn-Cunningham comes to Carnegie Mellon from Boston University where she is the director of the Center for Research in Sensory Communication and Neural Technology. Trained as an electrical engineer, Shinn-Cunningham has built her research career around applying math and engineering approaches to perception, specifically hearing and speech. She is best known for her spatial hearing work on the “cocktail party problem,” which looks at how the brain blocks out certain sounds and pays attention to others.

Hunt Earns Department of Energy Early Career Research Award

Ben Hunt, an assistant professor of physics, was awarded a five-year Department of Energy Early Career Research award in the area of basic energy sciences.

Hunt studies the behavior of electrons in extremely cold temperatures and powerful magnetic fields where familiar physics fades away and particles are instead governed by a weirder set of laws. There, he hopes to discover new materials that could be building blocks for the quantum computers of the future.

Hunt wants to find a material that could form the substrate for the next generation of computers. Hunt’s DOE project aims to layer graphene with other flat materials at a small fraction of a degree above absolute zero to form what’s called a “topological insulator.” In this new form of matter, electrons can move along the edge of the material with no loss of energy. That property makes these materials a strong candidate for underlying the ultra-powerful quantum computers of the future, in the same way that silicon underlies the computers of today.

Faculty honors and awards

Associate Teaching Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Science and Humanities Scholars Program William Alba was named associate dean for diversity.

Chemistry Professors Terrence J. Collins, Ronchao Jin and Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, and Physics Associate Professor Di Xiao were named among the world’s most highly cited researchers in their fields by Clarivate Analytics.

Mathematical Sciences Professor Giovanni Leoni published the second edition of his book “A First Course in Sobolev Spaces.”

Physics Professor Sara Majetich co-chaired the 2018 Intermag Conference in Singapore.

Associate Professor of Physics Rachel Mandelbaum was named the Analysis Coordinator for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Dark Energy Science Collaboration.

Physics Professor Curtis Meyer was re-elected spokesperson for the Glue-X collaboration. Meyer was also named associate dean for research.

Physics Assistant Research Professor Diana Parno chaired the organizing committee for the KATRIN Collaboration Meeting.

Physics Professor Manfred Paulini was named a fellow of the American Physical Society. Paulini was also named associate dean for faculty and graduate affairs.

Physics Professor Reinhard Schumacher chaired the local organizing committee for the 2017 American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics annual meeting held in Pittsburgh.

Chemistry Assistant Professor Stefanie Sydlik received the American Chemical Society Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Young Investigators Award.