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February 19, 2009

Two UW profs named Sloan Research Fellows

Two UW faculty members are among 118 early career scientists, mathematicians, and economists to be chosen as Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows. Subhadeep Gupta, physics; and James Lee, computer science and engineering, were chosen along with faculty at 60 other colleges and universities in the United States and Canada who are conducting research at the frontiers of physics, chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics and neuroscience.

“The Sloan Research Fellowships support the work of exceptional young researchers early in their academic careers, and often at pivotal stages in their work,” says Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “I am proud of the foundation’s rich history in providing the resources and flexibility necessary for young researchers to enhance their scholarship, and I look forward to the future achievements of the 2009 Sloan Research Fellows.”

Subhadeep Gupta is an assistant professor of physics. He earned his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he began his research in ultracold atomic physics, in which lasers and magnetic fields used together can make atoms a billion times colder than air. Under those conditions, atomic gases behave like lasers and can be used to model more complex systems and to improve fundamental measurements. He has been at the UW since 2007, where he is working on ultracold atoms and molecules for studies of new quantum systems, the development of quantum computers and precise tests for fundamental theories in physics.

James Lee is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering who studies the mathematical structures underlying difficult computational problems in order to design and analyze better algorithms to solve them. His work exploits the connections between computer science and pure mathematics in order to understand the inherent complexity of various computational tasks. Lee earned his doctorate at UC Berkeley and has been at the UW for three years.

The Sloan Research Fellowships have been awarded since 1955, initially in only three scientific fields: physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Since then, 38 Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in their fields; and 14 have received the Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics. Although Sloan Research Fellowships in economics only began in 1983, Sloan Fellows have subsequently accounted for 8 of the 13 winners of the John Bates Clark Medal, generally considered the top honor for young economists.

Grants of $50,000 for a two-year period are administered by each Fellow’s institution. Once chosen, Sloan Research Fellows are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of most interest to them, and they are permitted to employ Fellowship funds in a wide variety of ways to further their research aims.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and chief executive officer of the General Motors Corporation, the foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance. For a complete list of all Sloan Fellows, go to