Two LAS female scientists receive highest honors from National Science Foundation

Rebecca Flint, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University, and Amanda Weinstein, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University, have both been awarded prestigious CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award to support junior faculty who effectively integrate research and education within the mission of their organization.

“For a single department to receive one CAREER award in a given funding round is a great success,” said Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “To receive two in the same round is stunning and an indication that our physics and astronomy department at Iowa State University operates at the highest levels of academic distinction and research.”

Only about 20 percent of NSF CAREER proposals submitted nationwide in the area of mathematical and physical sciences are successful on average. Awards recognize outstanding new faculty for innovative research and efforts to engage broad communities in research and education.

Dr. Rebecca Flint

Flint was awarded a five-year research grant titled “Stabilizing Spin Liquids.” The $500,000 grant will support her research on spin liquids and the development of new ways to find spin liquids in real materials. Spin-liquid systems are a challenge to theorists, and research will lead to the development of new methodologies that will make it easier to study the exotic systems both numerically and experimentally. Flint will also develop an extensive and publicly available web resource for undergraduate students that clarifies the range of opportunities made available by a physics degree, and teaches students how to prepare and apply for these careers. Flint has a Ph.D. in physics from Rutgers University and held the Simons Postdoctoral Fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dr. Amanda Weinstein

Weinstein was awarded a five-year research grant titled “CAREER: A New Approach to Particle Astrophysics with VERITAS and Multi-wavelength Data.” The $781,903 grant will support Weinstein’s research on novel analysis techniques, sensitive to highly extended regions of gamma-ray emission. Weinstein and her research team will work on new data analysis techniques to improve the study of spatially-extended sources and to facilitate the joint analysis of data from multiple observatories. Using these new analysis techniques the group will conduct a systematic study of Galactic sources of particle acceleration, and ultimately search for signatures of dark matter. The group will work with the Iowa State University planetarium developing multi-wavelength astronomy and high-energy astrophysics shows, displays, and demonstrations. Weinstein has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and completed her post-doctoral research at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA).