President Barack Obama addresses 2011 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipients in the East Room of the White House, July 31, 2012
President Barack Obama addresses Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipients in the East Room of the White House. Dr. Douglas C. Hofmann, at JPL, was honored for his innovative research in metal-matrix composites for future NASA missions. Image credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
President Obama named five NASA researchers Monday, including one from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., as recipients of the 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). These recipients and 97 other federal researchers will receive their awards in a ceremony early next year in Washington.

The PECASE awards represent the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their research careers. The award recognizes recipients' exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through professional leadership, education or community outreach.

"These early career scientists and engineers represent some of the best and brightest talent in our agency and our university partners," said NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan. "We are delighted to see them win this prestigious award. Their contributions, ranging from microgravity and space radiation effects, X-ray spectrometry, advanced composites, remote sensing and climate research, will benefit our nation and advance the scientific frontiers."

The recipients were nominated by the agency's Science Mission Directorate, Office of the Chief Engineer, and Office of the Chief Technologist. The recipients are:

-- Dr. Joshua S. Alwood, at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., for research into the temporal changes in skeletal tissue density, cancellous orientation and vasculature during recovery from musculoskeletal disuse

-- Dr. Douglas C. Hofmann, at JPL, for his innovative research in metal-matrix composites for future NASA missions

-- Dr. Randall L. McEntaffer, at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, for development of high-resolution and high-throughput X-ray gratings for use in the next generation of space-based X-ray spectrometers

-- Dr. Tamlin M. Pavelsky, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for outstanding research and leadership advancing satellite remote sensing of river discharge, including enabling the broader community to develop and improve algorithms for Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT), a future NASA satellite being developed by JPL

-- Dr. Patrick C. Taylor, at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., for exceptional early career achievements and innovations that have advanced scientific understanding of Earth's climate system

The PECASE awards were created to foster innovative developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific missions of participating agencies, enhance connections between fundamental research and many of the grand challenges facing the nation, and highlight the importance of science and technology for America's future. For a complete list of 2012 award winners, visit: .

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit: .

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

[Note: As stated in this release, today's announcement involves the 2012 awards.]

News Media Contact

David Israel/Jane Platt 818-354-4797/818-354-0880
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. /

Allard Beutel 202-358-2191
NASA Headquarters, Washington