Two faculty members receive Guggenheim Fellowships

Annie Bruce, Reporter

Two members of the Northwestern faculty were chosen as 2014 Guggenheim Fellows, a prestigious award given to a small number of individuals each year.

Daniel Diermeier, a Kellogg international business and markets professor, and Jiaxing Huang, an associate professor of materials science and engineering in McCormick, were given the award this year.

The fellowship, given by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, provides artists, scholars and scientists with grants to further their work in a particular area of study. This year, the fellowship was awarded to 178 people, according to the Guggenheim Foundation website. 

Huang said he is excited and encouraged to receive this award.

“(I) feel very humbled, because there have been many great scientists who won this before,” Huang said. “I’m most excited that this fellowship will allow me to focus on what I’m really interested in.”

About 3,000 people applied for the prestigious award this year. During the application process, candidates needed to explain the work they plan to do or would continue to do if they were chosen. 

Huang said he has been working on his research, which focuses on studying interactions between nanoparticles, for a few years.

“We propose to use mechanical deformation to change the shape of nanoparticles to turn them into a shape that intrinsically they have very, very weak interactions,” Huang said. “And such particles will be very exciting because they don’t stick to each other.”

Diermeier said he is very honored to be chosen as a Guggenheim Fellow and it will allow him to finish his research, which he has been working on for a while. 

“This is a project basically to study voting and to develop new models of voting behavior that are mathematical in nature, but include some psychological processes that we know from experimental research,” Diermeier said.

Fellowship recipients are chosen in a number of different categories, ranging from fine arts to linguistics. Once applications are received, they are reviewed based on field category and ranked by past Guggenheim Fellows. Then, the selection committee determines the number of fellowships given in each category and gives its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. 

According to the Guggenheim Foundation website, the Fellowships are described as “midcareer awards.” Diermeier called the Fellowship both “a recognition and an encouragement.”

“You’re being recognized for what you’ve accomplished now, and then there’s an expectation that you got to do great things in the future as well,” Diermeier said.

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