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Two Northwestern professors named Sloan Research Fellows

Young researchers represent the scientific leaders of tomorrow

Two Northwestern faculty members have been awarded a prestigious 2024 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. They were selected for their creativity, innovation and research accomplishments, which make them stand out as the next generation of leaders.

The new Northwestern fellows are theoretical scientist Daniel Lecoanet of the McCormick School of Engineering and mathematician Ananth Shankar of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

The two are included among 126 outstanding early-career researchers who make up this year’s class. The annual fellowships are awarded to scholars in seven scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience and physics. Candidates are nominated by their fellow scientists. This year’s fellows were drawn from a diverse range of 53 institutions across the U.S. and Canada.

The two-year, $75,000 fellowship is one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to young researchers, and many past fellows have gone on to become distinguished figures in science. The financial support can be used flexibly to advance the fellow’s research.

Daniel Lecoanet
Daniel Lecoanet

Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 119 faculty from Northwestern have received a Sloan Research Fellowship (including this year’s winners).

Selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in physics, Daniel Lecoanet is an assistant professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics at McCormick.

Lecoanet’s group studies the flow of the liquids, gases and plasmas in nature systems, including the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and core and the atmospheres of giant planets like Jupiter and stars like the sun. Although these systems may appear very different, they follow the same physical principles. Understanding flows in these systems is necessary to make accurate predictions of climate change on Earth and the structure and evolution of other planets and stars. Lecoanet and his group investigate these flows using numerical simulations run on large supercomputing clusters.

Ananth Shankar
Ananth Shankar

Ananth Shankar, an assistant professor of mathematics at Weinberg, was selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in mathematics. Shankar’s research is in number theory and arithmetic geometry, focusing mainly on Shimura varieties and abelian varieties. His goal is to study the arithmetic and geometry of Shimura varieties and applications to abelian varieties, Diophantine geometry, special points and transcendence. 

“Sloan Research Fellowships are extraordinarily competitive awards involving the nominations of the most inventive and impactful early-career scientists across the U.S. and Canada,” said Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “We look forward to seeing how fellows take leading roles shaping the research agenda within their respective fields.”