Two Caltech researchers and a Jet Propulsion Laboratory aerospace engineer are among the 2012 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
The award, first handed out in 1996, honors young scientists who have already made significant contributions to the nation’s key science and military agencies.
The two winners from Caltech are physicist Chiara Daraio and astrophysicist Christopher Hirata. The winner from JPL is Ian Gauld Clark.
Daraio, a native of Italy who came to Caltech in 2006, was recognized for what the Department of Defense called “pioneering contributions” to work testing materials for use in diagnostic and biomedical imaging and in protecting mechanical systems from the ill effects of vibrations and other impacts.
In a release, Daraio noted that in the last several months she became a United States citizen, had a baby and now is receiving recognition from the White House.
The Department of Energy honored Hirata for his research related to dark matter and the origins of the universe, including discoveries related to the formation of galaxies. Hirata attended Caltech as an undergrad and joined the faculty six years later, in 2007.
Ian Gauld Clark was recognized by NASA for his work on advanced entry, descent and landing technologies for space exploration missions, including work on parachutes and decelerators for missions to Mars.
"Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people," President Obama said in a statement Monday. "The impressive accomplishments of today's awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead."
-- Bill Kisliuk, Times Community News