Michigan State University physicist Alexandra Gade, an assistant professor at MSU's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, has been named a 2008 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. Gade is among 118 awardees from the United States and Canada being recognized for early-career research excellence in fields ranging from physics to economics to neuroscience.
"Alexandra conducts a world-class research program in tracking changes to nuclear shell structure using in-beam gamma ray spectroscopy," said Konrad Gelbke, NSCL Director and former Sloan Fellow. "She would be successful at any of the world's top nuclear science facilities; it's an incredible asset to have her here."
Gade, one of just 22 researchers receiving the award in the physics category this year, focuses on exploration of the structure of atomic nuclei, including rare isotopes not normally found on Earth. A national user facility supported by the National Science Foundation, NSCL is one of the world's leading laboratories for creating these isotopes via fast-beam, in-flight production. The study of rare isotopes is part of a larger effort to understand the origins of the chemical elements and is relevant to applied work in medicine, national security and nuclear energy.
The Sloan Fellowships have been awarded since 1955, initially in only three scientific fields: physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Since then, 35 Sloan Fellows have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in their fields; and 14 have received the Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics. Although Sloan Fellowships in economics began only in 1983, since then Sloan Fellows have accounted for 8 of the 13 winners of the John Bates Clark Medal, generally considered the top honor for young economists.
Besides Gelbke, two of Gade's other current NSCL colleagues have previously received the prestigious Sloan award: Sam Austin, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, and Hendrik Schatz, professor and principal investigator of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.
NSCL is a world-leading laboratory for rare isotope research and nuclear science education.