NASA announced today the selection of its 2009 Fellows, who are scientists who were recently (that is, since Jan. 1, 2006) awarded PhDs in astronomy, physics, or a related field. These new fellows can do research at any host institution in the US that they choose, and they represent some of the best and brightest in the field.

In astronomy and astrophysics, there are three major NASA fellowships, each named after well-respected scientists in their field. The one most closely aligned with Chandra is the Einstein Fellowship (the others are the Hubble and Sagan fellowships). In fact, we administer the Einstein program from here at the Chandra X-ray Center. The purpose of this fellowship is to support research that is broadly related to what NASA calls its “Physics of the Cosmos” program. The main idea behind this program is to expand knowledge beyond General Relativity and quantum mechanics. In other words, it aims to answer the question, “How does the Universe work?”

Well, that’s certainly a big enough question and we can certainly use all of the help we can find to tackle it. So here are the new recruits in this quest, which will last three years beginning in the fall of 2009, along with where they got their PhD and where they’ll be based. (For a list of previous winners, go to Let’s wish them well and we’ll certainly look forward to what they find in the months and years to come.

Name PhD Institution Host Institution
Tamara Bogdanovic Penn State Maryland
Rodrigo Fernandez Toronto Inst.for Advanced Study
Bence Kocsis Eotvos Harvard
Bret Lehmer Penn State Johns Hopkins
Matthew McQuinn Harvard Berkeley
Brian Metzger Berkeley Princeton
Eran Ofek Tel Aviv Caltech
Eduardo Rozo Chicago Chicago
Kevin Schawinski Oxford Yale
Aurora Simionescu Munich Stanford

--Megan Watzke, CXC

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