Professor David Awschalom has been selected as a 2017 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow, Pentagon officials announced. The Department of Defense fellowship provides 3 million dollars to conduct bold and ambitious “blue sky” research that may lead to extraordinary outcomes such as revolutionizing entire disciplines, creating entirely new fields, or disrupting accepted theories and perspectives. It is sponsored by the Basic Research Office, Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and supports innovative basic research within academia, as well as opportunities intended to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers. Professor Awschalom will explore the quantum properties of two-dimensional matter as a potential foundation for quantum information processing technologies, collaborating with Professor Jiwoong Park and his students at Chicago as well as with Professor Nitin Samarth of the 2D Crystal Consortium, an NSF Materials Innovation Platform site at Penn State University.
Dr. Vannevar Bush (1890-1974) was a forward-thinking policymaker who served as the director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, coordinating the work of thousands of scientists in the service of ending the war. In his 1945 report to the President of the United States, Science, The Endless Frontier, Bush called for an expansion of government support for science, and he pressed for the creation of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Bush was concerned about how the scientific research supported by DoD during WWII could be sustained with a focus on peacetime goals. He believed that basic research was "the pacemaker of technological progress". "New products and new processes do not appear full-grown," Bush wrote. "They are founded on new principles and new conceptions, which in turn are painstakingly developed by research in the purest realms of science.”