Assistant Professor Receives Presidential Award

Assistant Professor of physics Ania Bleszynski Jayich was honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by President Barack Obama in recognition of her contributions to the field of physics involving techniques studying quantum electrical transport and quantum effects in mesoscopic systems.

The President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy selected 96 recipients to receive the PECASE recognition for breakthrough research and contributions in their respective fields of study. Jayich, who received her Ph.D. in physics from Harvard and her undergraduate degree in mathematical and computational science from Stanford, is the campus’s sole recipient and one of six scholars from the UC system to receive the prestigious honor.

According to a press release, Jayich’s research in nanoscale quantum electrical transport has wide-ranging implications that extend into sciences beside physics, such as computing and biology.

Jayich said the award will allow her and her colleagues to advance in their ongoing research.

“This is an amazing honor,” Jayich said in the statement. “I’d like to acknowledge all the support I have received here at UCSB, from my funding sources at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and from my graduate and postdoctoral advisors.”

In a White House press release, President Obama said the nation will benefit from the scientific contributions offered by Jayich and her fellow honorees.

“Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people,” Obama said in the statement. “The impressive accomplishments of today’s awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead.”

 Bildsten Named Director of Kavli Institute

The Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics sorted through various international candidates before selecting UCSB’s own Lars Bildsten as its new director.

Bildsten will succeed 2004 Nobel laureate David Gross, who acted as the institute’s director for 15 years and plans to remain an active member. KITP has held many important programs and conferences with physicists from all over the world since its creation in 1979 and offers programs with exclusive invitations that last from weeks to months.

Bildsten, who first joined the UCSB faculty in 1999 with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell, said he strives to maintain the standard of quality solidified under his predecessor’s leadership.

“It is also a deep responsibility to maintain the tradition of excellent leadership at the KITP,” Bildsten said in the statement. “David Gross very successfully expanded our activities and funding, increased our international prominence, and placed us in a very strong position.”