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Nine young faculty named 2020 Sloan Fellows

Sloan Fellowships are prestigious, two-year appointments awarded to the best and the brightest U.S. and Canadian scientists

nine 2020 Sloan Fellows
UC Berkeley's new Sloan Fellows, clockwise from upper left: Stephen Brohawn, Benjamin Faber, Sanjam Garg, Cecile Gaubert, Heather Gray, Sung-Jin Oh, Aditya Parameswaran, Daniel Stolper and Michael Zaletel.

Nine young faculty members at UC Berkeley have been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, an honor given yearly to the brightest up-and-coming scientists in the United States and Canada.

The nine are among 126 fellowships across North America announced today (Wednesday, Feb. 12) by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Winners receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship, which can be spent to advance their research.

Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 282 UC Berkeley faculty members have received the honor.

“To receive a Sloan Research Fellowship is to be told by your fellow scientists that you stand out among your peers,” said foundation president Adam F. Falk in an announcement. “A Sloan Research Fellow is someone whose drive, creativity and insight makes them a researcher to watch.”

Meet the new fellows:

Stephen Brohawn, an assistant professor of molecular and cell biology, studies life’s electrical system, which is responsible for sensation, thought, learning, memory and many other forms of communication within the body, from a molecular and biophysical perspective.

Benjamin Faber, an associate professor of economics, works at the intersection of international trade and development economics, focusing on how globalization shapes economic livelihoods in developing countries.

Sanjam Garg, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS), is a computer theorist who conducts research in cryptography and security.

Cecile Gaubert is an assistant professor of economics, a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research affiliate of the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research. Her research interests include international trade and economic geography.

Heather Gray, an assistant professor of physics, is an experimental particle physicist working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, Switzerland. Her primary interest is the Higgs boson, the most recently discovered elementary particle. She focuses on how it interacts with different types of quarks, including top, bottom and charm quarks.

Sung-Jin Oh, an assistant professor of mathematics, studies geometric partial differential equations, especially those which originate from physics. He combines ideas from a diverse range of fields, including harmonic analysis, differential geometry and physics.

Aditya Parameswaran has a joint appointment in EECS and the School of Information. He develops systems for interactive, or “human-in-the-loop,” data analytics by synthesizing techniques from database systems, data mining and human-computer interaction. His tools help end-users and teams make sense of large and complex datasets.

Daniel Stolper, an assistant professor of earth and planetary science, focuses on generating and interpreting climate records of ancient Earth, primarily by studying the modern carbon cycle and reconstructing past atmospheric and marine oxygen concentrations.

Michael Zaletel, an assistant professor of physics and the Thomas and Alison Schneider Chair, focuses on theoretical condensed matter physics and its intersection with quantum information and computational approaches. He aims to understand the behavior of electrons in quantum materials where entanglement and the strong interactions between electrons conspire to form new phases of matter.

Browhawn, Gray, Stolper and Zaletel also are staff scientists or affiliates at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

The Sloan Research Fellowships are open to scholars in eight scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. Candidates are nominated by their fellow scientists, and winners are selected by independent panels of senior scholars on the basis of the candidates’ research accomplishments, creativity and potential to become leaders in their fields.

Complete list of 2020 Sloan Fellows