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President Obama Honors Outstanding Early-Career Scientists


Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers awarded to Dr. Craig Fennie.

The award received by the CCMR funded scientist is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Dr Fennie was also one of the 4 out of 96 chosen as an Awardee Spotlight:
After a few years working full-time as a bouncer at a popular Philly nightclub, then a few more years as an engineer, Craig decided on a career change. He quit his job and returned to graduate school to study theoretical materials physics, even though he had not taken a single physics class since freshman  year. He hasn’t looked back since.

Today, he spends most of his time rethinking the problem of materials discovery. Even though there exist powerful quantum mechanical techniques for analyzing and interpreting the properties of crystalline materials, the design of new materials with targeted properties remains a challenge. Why? At a fundamental level the laws governing the physics of materials are relatively simple, but the behavior of a material itself can still be complex. Materials are composed of atoms whose type, number, and arrangement create distinct properties that emerge through the collective behavior of the seemingly simpler, well-understood parts. The discovery of emergent phenomena in condensed matter systems is therefore intimately linked with that of discovering the crystalline materials that display these phenomena. Such discoveries often occur serendipitously.

Craig’s work in “Materials by Design” is helping to take some of the luck out of these discoveries.

For more information about the award see: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/23/president-obama-honors-outstanding-early-career-scientists

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