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CIERA professor and two postdoctoral alumni named Sloan Research Fellows

Young researchers represent the scientific leaders of tomorrow

Two Northwestern faculty members and two CIERA alumni have been awarded a prestigious 2024 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. They were selected for their creativity, innovation and research accomplishments, which make them stand out as the next generation of leaders.

The new Northwestern fellows are theoretical scientist Daniel Lecoanet of the McCormick School of Engineering — and a Core CIERA Faculty member — and mathematician Ananth Shankar of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Daniel Lecoanet

The two are included among 126 outstanding early-career researchers who make up this year’s class. The annual fellowships are awarded to scholars in seven scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience and physics. Candidates are nominated by their fellow scientists. This year’s fellows were drawn from a diverse range of 53 institutions across the U.S. and Canada.

The two-year, $75,000 fellowship is one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to young researchers, and many past fellows have gone on to become distinguished figures in science. The financial support can be used flexibly to advance the fellow’s research.

Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 119 faculty from Northwestern have received a Sloan Research Fellowship (including this year’s winners).

Selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in physics, Daniel Lecoanet is an assistant professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics at McCormick.

Kate Alexander

Lecoanet’s group studies the flow of the liquids, gases and plasmas in nature systems, including the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and core and the atmospheres of giant planets like Jupiter and stars like the sun. Although these systems may appear very different, they follow the same physical principles. Understanding flows in these systems is necessary to make accurate predictions of climate change on Earth and the structure and evolution of other planets and stars. Lecoanet and his group investigate these flows using numerical simulations run on large supercomputing clusters.

Maya Fishbach

Two CIERA alumni have also been awarded 2024 Sloan Research Fellowships in physics. Kate D. Alexander, currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona, was a CIERA Postdoctoral Fellow from 2018-2022. Dr. Alexander’s research focuses on astrophysical transients including tidal disruption events (TDEs), gamma ray bursts (GRBs), and gravitational wave counterparts – with a focus on radio observations. Maya Fishbach, currently an Assistant Professor at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) at the University of Toronto was also a CIERA Postdoctoral Fellow from 2018-2022. Dr. Fishbach uses gravitational waves to probe the universe’s most extreme objects – black holes and neutron stars.


Continue to the full Northwestern news story.

Congratulations, Daniel, Kate, and Maya!
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