Tsai Gets Prestigious CAREER Award

Shan-Wen Tsai, an assistant professor of physics, is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award, a prestigious honor recognizing the early career development activities of scholars most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.

Tsai’s research focuses on theoretical condensed matter physics, in particular properties of novel materials and nanostructures. Her CAREER award will support theoretical and computational research and education to advance the theory of systems composed of many interacting particles. Specifically, she plans to develop a potentially powerful theoretical technique that may illuminate the enigmatic behavior of complex materials and of cold-atom systems, where novel quantum states of matter emerge at ultra-low temperatures.

Tsai, who joined UCR in 2005, also plans to use her CAREER award to train graduate and undergraduate students in research as well as to set up a bridge between UCR physics students and schools in the community in order to enrich the education of K-12 students and teachers, and provide an opportunity for UCR students to improve their teaching, communication, and presentation skills.

CAREER awardees are chosen on the basis of creative career-development plans that integrate research and education. The award to Tsai includes a stipend of $400,000.

Raikhel Appointed UC Presidential Chair

In recognition for his research elucidating vitellogenesis (yolk formation) and the molecular basis of immune response in mosquitoes, Alexander Raikhel, a distinguished professor of entomology, has been appointed a University of California Presidential Chair.

The University of California supports Presidential Chairs on each of the 10 UC campuses through an endowment established in 1981 by the UC Regents.

The positions are offered to distinguished members of the university’s faculty and are intended to encourage new or interdisciplinary program development, or to enhance quality in existing academic programs.

Earlier this year, Raikhel was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences for his excellence in original scientific research. Membership is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States.

Abani Finalist for Literary Prize

Creative writing professor Chris Abani was a finalist for the first St. Francis College Literary Prize, which was awarded Sept. 12. He was one of four authors short-listed from nearly 40 submissions. He was nominated for “Song for Night” (Akashic Books, 2007).

The St. Francis College Literary Prize is awarded to a relatively new and emerging author who shows growth, promise and a maturing artistic voice with their mid-career work, according to the college Web site. The college, founded by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.

Abani also will be a featured speaker in Kansas University’s Hall Center for the Humanities Lecture series for 2009-10 on Nov. 17. He is one of six speakers in a lecture series that will include four authors, a journalist and a Kansas University film professor.

Enotomology Fellows

Brian A. Federici and Alexander S. Raikhel, distinguished professors of entomology, have been selected as fellows of the Entomological Society of America (ESA).

This year’s fellows bring the total number of UCR faculty members who have received this distinction to 11 (three are deceased).

Selection as an ESA Fellow acknowledges outstanding contributions in one or more of the following: research, teaching, extension, or administration.

Federici and Raikhel will be recognized formally, along with eight other ESA Fellows selected this year, in December during the annual meeting of the ESA.