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Romnes Awards honor six up-and-coming professors

March 10, 2010 By Jill Sakai

Six of UW–Madison’s most promising rising faculty have been named recipients of this year’s Romnes Faculty Fellowships.

The award, supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), recognizes an exceptional faculty member who has earned tenure within the last four years. Each winner, selected by a Graduate School committee, receives an unrestricted $50,000 award for research support.

The Romnes award is named for the late H. I. Romnes, former chair of the board of AT&T and former president of the WARF board of trustees.

This year’s awardees are:

  • Barry Burden, political science, who joined the UW–Madison faculty in 2006 and is currently the director of graduate studies in the political science department. His research has included third-party candidate strategies, election administration in Wisconsin, and the degree to which the values, experiences and interests that shape legislators as individuals also shape their policymaking decision in government.

  • Qiang Cui, chemistry, whose research covers a range of topics in theoretical and computational chemistry and biophysics. He is working on computational models to probe the physical mechanisms of energy and signal transduction in complex molecular systems including biomolecular motors, ion pumps and channels.

  • Jordan Ellenberg, mathematics, a renowned number theorist whose research topics range from analysis to algebra, including applications of topology to pattern classification, fluid dynamics and statistics. His honors include three medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad, a Sloan Research Fellowship and a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. He is also active in promoting and publicizing mathematics to broader audiences, writing pieces for the popular press and co-organizing the “Math and…” colloquium series at UW–Madison.

  • Bradley Postle, psychology, a cognitive neuroscientist who uses cutting-edge brain imaging and stimulation techniques to study memory and cognition. He is a popular teacher and is associate editor of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

  • Volker Radeloff, forest and wildlife ecology, who studies the causes and consequences of land use change in the United States and the former Soviet Union. His research has documented the impacts of historic events and human disturbance on ecological phenomena including wildfire, invasive species and loss of biodiversity.

  • Gail Simpson, art, a sculptor and public artist who has public art projects displayed around the U.S. and Europe. She is the head of the foundations area in the art department and recently started a classroom internship program.