Mathematical and Physical Sciences Awards & Accolades — Summer 2016

UC Davis MSB

The Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences recognizes faculty and students who received awards and accolades during summer 2016.

New chancellor’s leadership professors appointed in MPS

Two UC Davis professors whose research delves into the deep history of Earth and the densest structures in the universe have been awarded the honorary designation of Chancellor’s Leadership Professor. Isabel Montañez, professor of geochemistry, and Lori Lubin, professor of astrophysics, each received a three-year appointment as a Chancellor’s Leadership Professor and $25,000 to support their research. The honor recognizes their outstanding scholarship and many academic contributions to the campus, Acting Chancellor Ralph Hexter said in a letter announcing the awards.

Isabel MontanezMontañez is an internationally recognized geochemist and field geologist. Her interests include the periods of major climate change and ecosystem change in Earth’s deep past, such as when complex life first emerged. Montañez’s reconstructions of isotopic records of ancient seawater, coupled with sea-level history, also provide new insights into the role of greenhouse gases in past climate shifts. The findings have implications for predicting how our climate might evolve with continued greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Montañez is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geochemical Society and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Lori LubinLubin is a world-renowned observational astronomer whose research focuses on galaxy clusters, which are among the most massive objects in the universe. Her work helps improve models for how galaxies in the universe have evolved through time. Lubin is principal investigator of the Observations of Redshift Evolution in Large Scale Environments Survey, a comprehensive study of 20 distant galaxy clusters. She has also been faculty director of the UC Davis California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program for the past seven years, mentoring undergraduates from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and is the incoming chair of the University of California Faculty Welfare Committee (UCFW). 

Association for Women Geoscientists honors Carlson

Sandy CarlsonSandra Carlson, professor of paleobiology in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Encourage award from the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG). Carlson is also the faculty director of CalTeach/Mathematics and Science Teaching Programs (MAST). In the letter announcing the award, Blair Schneider, AWG President 2015-2016, said that Carlson’s “leadership initiative has helped to not only continue to foster the relationship between AWG and the Paleo Society, but to bring a whole new level of recognition to our awards for young women pursuing careers in paleontology.” The Encourage award is one of three honors given annually by AWG to women and men who advance participation of women in the geosciences. 

MPS Dean’s Graduate Prize goes to Shuyang Ling of Mathematics

Shuyang LingShuyang Ling, a doctoral student in the Department of Mathematics, was awarded the 2016 Mathematical and Physical Sciences Dean’s Graduate Student Prize in June. Winners are chosen for their high academic standing, scholarly achievement and a record of outstanding undergraduate teaching. The $250 award is funded through gifts from Francisco Samaniego, professor of statistics, and others. This year, Ling also received the Alice Leung Scholarship in Mathematics, awarded annually to a graduate student who shows exceptional promise in all aspects of mathematics.

Ling is a fourth-year graduate student in applied mathematics working under the supervision of mathematics professor Thomas Strohmer. Ling earned a master’s degree in statistics at UC Davis and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and applied mathematics at Fundan University in Shanghai. His doctoral research focuses on developing mathematical theories and algorithms to solve inverse problems arising from signal processing, wireless communication and image processing. His interests include applied and computational harmonic analysis, compressive sensing, optimization, numerical analysis and random matrices.

— Becky Oskin, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science