CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded 2015 Guggenheim fellowships to two University of Illinois faculty members: Wendy K. Tam Cho, professor of political science and of statistics, and Philip W. Phillips, professor of physics.
Wendy K. Tam Cho
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Cho and Phillips are among 175 fellows chosen for "prior achievement and exceptional promise" from a group of more than 3,100 applying scholars, artists and scientists. To provide creative freedom, fellows are awarded unrestricted grants that they can apply to work of their choosing.
Cho conducts research on statistical and computational models for social science, looking for ways to advance social science in step with scientific and technological growth. She also is a senior research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
Her political science research in recent years has included studies of political participation, voter migration, contextual influences on voting behavior, and redistricting. She also studies statistical methods that are applied in a variety of fields, including medicine, economics and psychology.
She will use her fellowship on work aimed at harnessing the power of information by developing statistical and mathematical models to guide computing technology toward intelligent information extraction.
Cho earned her doctorate in 1997 from the University of California at Berkeley and joined the U. of I. faculty that same year.
Phillips works in theoretical condensed matter physics. He has developed various models of how electrons travel through superconductors containing copper and iron and how electrons interact at temperatures near absolute zero.
He is known for devising the random dimer model, a 1-dimensional model that conducts electricity, thereby providing a concrete counterexample to Anderson's localization theorem, and for developing the concept of Mottness, in which strong electron interactions lead to a breakdown on the particle concept in high-temperature superconductors.
Phillips plans to apply his award to understand how collective phenomena emerge from strong electron interactions and precisely how the principle of scale invariance simplifies the normal state of copper-oxide superconductors.
Phillips earned his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1982. He worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the faculty at Illinois in 1993. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society.