Christine Luscombe Wins Sloan Fellowship

Prof. Christine Luscombe is among 118 recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships for 2010, given by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The awardees represent 56 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. According to the foundation, the fellowships "seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise." They are awarded in recognition of fellows' distinguished performance and the potential to make substantial contributions to their field.  

Prof. Luscombe, who earned her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, has been an assistant professor at UW since 2006.  Her research centers around making a special class of polymers which absorb light and conduct electricity. In particular, she is developing "better methods to make the polymers with accurate control over their shape and size, with the ultimate goal of obtaining precise control over how the polymers interact with light." This, she said, could lead to the development of cheaper and more flexible electronic devices in the future, such as solar cells which can replace existing traditional silicon solar cells, making solar cells more amenable to widespread use.

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; 57 have received the National Medal of Science 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 9 of the 14 winners of the John Bates Clark Medal, generally considered the top honor for young economists.

The fellowships include a grant of $50,000 over a two-year period. 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 that supports original research and broad-based education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.

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