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AFOSR Awards Grants to 31 Scientists and Engineers through its Young Investigator Research Program

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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Office of Scientific Research today announced it will award approximately $13.9 million in grants to 31 scientists and engineers from 24 research institutions and businesses who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).


The YIP is open to United States citizens and/or permanent residents’ who are scientists and engineers at United States research institutions who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last seven years and who show an exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research of military interests.

The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

This year, AFOSR received over 290 proposals in response to the AFOSR YIP broad agency announcement (BAA) solicitation, FA9550-18-S-0002. Thirty-one YIPs were awarded in these research areas: Aerospace Materials for Extreme Environments, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Computational Mathematics, Dynamic Data Driven Applications Systems, Dynamics Materials and Interactions, Dynamics and Control, Electromagnetics, Energy Combustion and Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics, GHz-THz Electronics and Materials, High Speed Aerodynamics, Human Performance and Biosystems, Information Operations and Security, Laser and Optical Physics, Low Density Materials, Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Microsystems, Molecular Dynamics and Theoretical Chemistry, Multi-Scale Structural Mechanics and Prognosis, Natural Materials and Systems, Optimization and Discrete Mathematics, Optoelectronics and Physics, Organic Materials Chemistry, Plasma and Electro-Energetic Physics, Quantum Electronic Solids, Quantum Information Sciences, Science of Information, Computation and Fusion, Space Power and Propulsion, Space Sciences, Test Science for Test and Evaluation, Trust and Influence, Ultrashort Pulse Laser-Matter Interactions, and Unsteady Aerodynamics and Turbulence Flows.

YIP recipients receive a three year grant totaling $450,000.

The following YIP recipients and their anticipated research areas are:

• Dr. Laura Balzano, University of Michigan, Non-convex Optimization Algorithms and Theory for Matrix Factorization with Dynamic Massive Data
• Dr. Yuxin Chen, Princeton University, Taming Nonconvexity in Solving High-Dimensional Nonlinear Systems of Equations
• Dr. Riccardo Comin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Competing Orders in Nanostructured High-Tc Superconductors
• Dr. Samuel Coogan, Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Scalable Analysis and Control of Dynamic Flow Networks
• Dr. Helen Durand, Wayne State University, Optimization-Based Materials Design and Manufacturing
• Dr. Manuel Endres, California Institute of Technology, Entanglement Control in Alkaline-earth Rydberg Arrays
• Dr. Stefano Ermon, Stanford University, Variational Methods for Information Processing and Learning
• Dr. Sicun Gao, University of California – San Diego, Automated Reasoning for High-Assurance Hybrid System Control
• Dr. Alex Gorodetsky, University of Michigan, Online Reinforcement Learning in Partially Observed Physics-based Environments with Compression-based Computation
• Dr. Mohammed Hassan, University of Arizona, Imaging the Ultrafast Dynamics in 2D Graphene
• Dr. Maziar Hermati, University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Reducing Transient Energy Growth in Shear Flows Using Sensor-based Output Feedback Control
• Dr. Robert Hickey, Pennsylvania State University, Hybrid Bottlebrush Block Polymer/Inorganic Nanostructures with Tunable Nonlinear Optical and Photonic Band Gap Properties
• Dr. Ryan Houim, University of Florida – Gainesville, Characterization on the Scaling Effects and Afterburning Processes of Explosively Dispersed Reactive Powder and Fragments
• Dr. Benjamin Jorns, University of Michigan, Predictive Modeling for Complex Plasma Systems with Poorly Understood Physics
• Dr. Neha Kamat, Northwestern University, A Biophysical Approach to Uncover the Role of Cell Membrane Mechanics in Sensing Mechanical Force
• Dr. Maria Kamenetska, Boston University, Robust Conductance and Force Measurements of Single DNA Molecules to Quantify Nucleosome Unwinding
• Dr. Phillip Keathley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, On-Chip PHz Processing of Optical Fields using Nanostructured Electron Emitters
• Dr. Tae Kim, University of Alabama – Huntsville, MHD Heliosphere with Enhanced Background Solar Wind and Coronal Mass Ejections
• Dr. Roopali Kukreja, University of California – Davis, Unraveling Speed Limit of Magnetization Dynamics in Magnetic Heterostructure
• Dr. Eli Levenson-Falk, University of Southern California, Quasiparticles in Superconducting Circuits
• Dr. Ling Li, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Design of Lightweight Cellular Glass: Lessons from Nature
• Dr. Luqiao Liu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harnessing Magnons for Hybrid Quantum Information Systems
• Dr. Francesco Monticone, Cornell University, Robust Topological Scattering and Radiating Structures: Bridging Free-Space Propagation and Surface Waves on Complex Objects
• Dr. Francesco Panerai, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, High-fidelity Quantitative Measurements of Hypersonic Carbon Ablation
• Dr. Daniel Romero, University of Michigan, Assessing the Impact of Exogenous Shocks on User Behavior and Information Diffusion in Social Media
• Dr. Aaron Rury, Wayne State University, Coherent Vibrational Spectroscopy of Charge Transfer Cavity Polaritons
• Dr. Judson Ryckman, Clemson University, Deeply Subwavelength All-Dielectric Nanophotonics in Silicon
• Dr. Raymond Spearrin, University of California – Los Angeles, 3D Laser Absorption Imaging of Species and Temperature in Supercritical Flames
• Dr. Sameh Tawfick, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Additive Manufacturing of Polymorphic Hair Material Systems for Reconfiguration and Damage Restoration
• Dr. Amy Van Newkirk, Pennsylvania State University, Development of Anti-Resonant Hollow Core Fiber for High Power and Mid-wave
• Dr. Richard Wiebe, University of Washington, Robust Characterization of Nonlinear Structural Dynamics in Extreme Environments

For additional information on AFOSR YIP, send correspondence to Mrs. Ellen M. Robinson at afosryip@afosr.af.mil.