NSF Awards Fund Four Young Faculty Members

sealPurdue News

February 20,1998

NSF Awards Fund Four Young Faculty Members

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Four Purdue University scientists and engineers are among 359 nationwide who are working on projects funded in fiscal year 1997 by a federal program designed to encourage them early in their careers as educators and researchers.

The 1997 Faculty Early Career Development Program grants, administered by the National Science Foundation to junior-level university faculty, are designed to emphasize the importance of integrating research and educational activities in academic careers. The grants are awarded over four to five years and range from $200,000 to $500,000. The 1997 Purdue awardees are:

• Daniela Bortoletto, associate professor of physics, for the design and fabrication of highly precise detectors to track elementary particles in the world's most powerful particle accelerators. Bortoletto was part of a team of scientists that used such detectors to discover the top quark, one of the fundamental building blocks of the universe and a major discovery in particle physics. The results of accelerator experiments will shed additional light on the fundamental nature of matter, including the origin and fate of the universe. Bortoletto also is providing research opportunities for undergraduates to work with her on the project.

• Rudolph Eigenmann, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, for work aimed at increasing the speed and efficiency of computers and computer programs. His research focuses on developing advanced tools for high-performance computers, with one objective being to promote the use of realistic test applications in computer systems research. This could lead to more accurate weather predictions, new computer-designed drugs, safer and more aerodynamic cars and planes, and sophisticated simulations for disaster prediction and recovery.

• Midhat Hondzo, assistant professor of civil engineering, for research related to environmental fluid dynamics and water quality modeling. His project is concerned with how materials and chemicals are transported by turbulent mixing throughout the various layers in a body of water, such as a lake. Understanding such turbulence and the flow of materials is important for explaining and predicting the dynamics of various chemical and biological reactions in natural systems and will aid in the development of new models that can help predict water quality and transport phenomena.

• Srinivas Peeta, assistant professor of civil engineering, for research that uses real-time traffic-related data gathered from advanced sensor and information systems to control the performance of large-scale traffic systems. His research aims to enhance the efficiency of existing road networks, alleviate congestion, improve traffic flow, increase safety and improve air quality. Potential applications include providing drivers with real-time data, such as less-congested routes to their destinations, through computers in their vehicles. Areas where he is focusing his teaching and research includes advanced information systems, data extraction and processing techniques, control theory, and high-performance computational techniques.

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