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Rising Stars Receive Sloan Fellowships

Three CAS faculty among this year’s recipients


Three College of Arts and Sciences faculty members have been awarded 2012 Sloan Research Fellowships. Robinson Fulweiler, Margaret Beck, and Tulika Bose are among this year’s 126 recipients. The two-year fellowships are given to young academic scholars who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their respective fields of science, mathematics, economics, and computer science. This year, the fellowships were expanded to include ocean sciences. Each winner receives $50,000.

“These fellowships acknowledge the outstanding scientific accomplishments of our early-career scientists and scholars and are a great honor for Boston University,” says Virginia Sapiro, dean of Arts & Sciences.

The fellowships are granted by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, named for a former president and CEO of General Motors. The philanthropic organization was founded in 1934 to support research in science, technology, and economics, based on the belief that “scholars and practitioners who work in these fields are chief drivers of the nation’s health and prosperity,” according to the foundation.

Fulweiler, an assistant professor with a joint appointment in earth sciences and biology, is associate director of the BU Marine Program and runs the Fulweiler Laboratory, which focuses on biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology. She earned a PhD in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island and joined BU in 2008 after completing a postdoc at Louisiana State University.

Her research includes how the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has affected the Louisiana wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico as well how humans and climate change are impacting coastal erosion at various locations in New England. She plans to use her fellowship award to hire another graduate assistant and to buy equipment for her lab to study the DNA of bacteria found in these different areas.

“It’s especially nice to be recognized because there’s a lot of rejection in science,” Fulweiler says.

Bose, an assistant professor of physics, has been working since last fall in Switzerland at the Large Hadron Collider, located outside Geneva. An experimental particle physicist, she is among a number of physicists at the world’s largest collider, many from BU, pursuing fundamental questions about how the world is constructed. Her research examines how particles gain mass and why some are heavier than others.

“It’s very special to get this award,” Bose says. “You have to be nominated for it, and senior members in your field submit letters on your behalf. So it’s recognition from people in your field.”

She celebrated news of her award by going out to dinner in Geneva with her husband, Kevin Black (GRS’05), also a CAS assistant professor of physics, and their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. The couple will return to Boston this August, but Bose’s work at the collider is far from finished. She will use her fellowship to help fund travel expenses to Geneva next year.

Beck (GRS’06), an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, studies partial differential equations, which are used to mathematically model a wide array of phenomena. She also plans to use her award to pay for travel expenses, in her case to visit with collaborators around the country and in England. She’s currently on leave from BU, where she earned a PhD, and is spending the year conducting research at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

“The best thing about an award like this is that it makes it possible to focus more on your research,” Beck says.

Past recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships have gone on to win a total of 38 Nobel prizes.

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Amy Sutherland

Amy Sutherland can be reached at alks@bu.edu.

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