Sarah DeWitt
Headquarters, Washington     
Sept. 26, 2011
RELEASE : 11-323
NASA Scientists Receive Presidential Early Career Awards
WASHINGTON -- President Obama has named four NASA scientists as recipients of the 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The NASA recipients and 90 other federal researchers will receive their awards in a ceremony on October 14 in Washington.

The PECASE awards represent the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. They recognize recipients' exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge, and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, education or community outreach.

"We are thrilled to honor these outstanding early-career scientists, and will look forward to their ongoing contributions to the exploration of our planet, our solar system, and our place in the universe," said NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati. "The work of these talented individuals will help us turn the dreams of today into the reality of tomorrow."

The 2010 NASA recipients were nominated by the agency's Science Mission Directorate:

- Jonathan W. Cirtain, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., recognized for outstanding research on basic physical processes observed in solar and space plasmas through innovative engineering instrument designs.

- Ian M. Howat, The Ohio State University in Columbus, recognized for outstanding contributions to the field of glaciology -- in particular, improvements to understanding glacier dynamics and their contributions to sea level rise.

- Gregory G. Howes, University of Iowa in Iowa City, recognized for outstanding contributions to improve understanding of the dissipation of turbulence and the resulting heating of heliospheric plasmas, and for leadership in education and outreach activities.

- Benjamin A. Mazin, University of California, Santa Barbara, recognized for outstanding contributions to the development of ultra-sensitive, low-temperature detector arrays that provide energy resolution and arrival timing for photons from X-rays to the near infrared.

The PECASE awards were created to foster innovative developments in science and technology; increase awareness of careers in science and engineering; give recognition to the scientific missions of participating agencies; enhance connections between fundamental research and many of the grand challenges facing the nation; and to highlight the importance of science and technology for America's future. Sixteen federal departments and agencies nominated scientists and engineers for the 2010 PECASE awards. For a complete list of 2010 award winners, visit:


For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:



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