The President’s meeting with the PECASE winners showcased this Administration’s recognition that America’s global leadership in science and technology is not automatic, but depends on constantly cultivating new generations of ambitious and dedicated explorers in the sciences and engineering. And of course that national nourishing of curiosity starts even earlier than that, in the way we teach children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That’s why this event resonates strongly with those of last week, when the President announced an expansion of the “Educate to Innovate” campaign to encourage and inspire young students to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Assistant professor Seth Bank received a 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young researchers. Bank will use the $1M grant attached to the award to study metal/semiconductor nanocomposites (metallic nanoparticles embedded in a semiconductor). The goal is to use these new materials to produce efficient sources of terahertz radiation for a number of applications in chemical/gas sensing and security.
Nine Federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious young scientists and engineers for PECASE -- researchers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for strengthening America’s leadership in science and technology and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions. The awards are coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, with awardees selected on the basis of two criteria: Pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and a commitment to community service, as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Winners receive up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions.