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Physicist and Economist Named Sloan Fellows

Brian Odom and Giorgio Primiceri honored as outstanding early career researchers

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February 19, 2010 | by Megan Fellman
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Two Northwestern University faculty members have been named Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows.

They are Brian Odom, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, and Giorgio Primiceri, assistant professor of economics, both in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

They are among 118 outstanding early career scientists, mathematicians and economists chosen from 56 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The awards include a $50,000 grant for a two-year period that is administered by the university. The Sloan Fellows are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of most interest to them, and they are permitted to use fellowship funds in a variety of ways to further their research.

Odom’s research group is an experimental group working on novel approaches to control molecular motion. The molecules are first ionized so they can be held in a radiofrequency trap -- think of a container without physical walls -- and kept isolated from their environment. Laser beams then are used to slow down the motion of the molecules and make them stop tumbling and vibrating. Applications of this new technology range from particle physics to chemistry.

In his research, Primiceri has focused on the causes and consequences of two important phenomena of the postwar economic history of the United States and other developed countries: the high inflation experience of the 1970s and the decline in the volatility of business cycles that has characterized the last 25 years. More recently, he has studied the pattern of adoption of market-oriented policies over time and across the countries of the world, in the context of models in which our own and neighbors’ experiences influence policy choices, through their effect on policymakers’ beliefs.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant-making institution that supports original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.