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Professor receives Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at White House


James Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Charles F. Gammie, a professor of physics and of astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was among 60 young researchers named as recipients of the 2001 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the government on young professionals at the outset of their independent research careers. Gammie received his award July 12 in a White House ceremony.

"These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," said President Clinton, when he established the awards in February 1996. "Through their talent, ability and dedication, they will quicken the pace of discovery and put science and technology to work advancing the human condition as never before."

The young scientists and engineers receive up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions. Gammie will use his award to carry out a research program in theoretical and computational astrophysics that focuses on building numerical models of how plasma flows around black holes. The release of gravitational binding energy in black hole accretion flows is thought to power quasars and active galactic nuclei, and, in our own galaxy, the black hole X-ray binaries.

Gammie and his students are also developing a "digital demo room" to aid in astronomy and physics instruction. The numerical models available in this demo room will focus on topics in stellar evolution, supernovae, star formation and galactic structure.

Gammie received his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1987 from Yale University and his doctorate in astrophysical sciences in 1992 from Princeton University. He joined the Illinois faculty in 1999.