Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

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President Obama Honors Dr. B. Scott Gaudi '91 With Highest Honor for Early Career Scientists

IMSA alumnus and internationally acclaimed Astronomer Dr. Scott Gaudi ’91 received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor given by the U.S. Government for science and engineering professionals in their early research careers.

"Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people," President Obama said in a White House press release. "The impressive accomplishments of today's awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead."

Dr. B. Scott Gaudi '91, recipient of the 2011 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Dr. Gaudi is among 96 researchers named by the President as a recipient of the award, coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy withiin the Executive Office of the President.  Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative reserach at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

Dr. Gaudi, the recipient of the 2007 IMSA Board of Trustees Alumni Award, is an associate professor in the Department of Astronomy at Ohio State University. He has received worldwide media attention for leading a team of 69 international astronomers in discovering a solar system similar to our own. Gaudi also was awarded the Helen B. Warner Prize for “significant contribution to observational or theoretical astronomy” by the American Astronomical Society and was named one of the “10 Rising Stars of Astronomy” by Astronomy Magazine and "one of the 20 scientists to watch in the next 20 years" by DISCOVER magazine.

During the White House ceremony for the awardees, Gaudi credited his family, friends and others for their support and spoke about what an exciting time it is for science discovery.

"Finally, I, along with everyone in this room, am incredibly fortunate and privileged to live in a completely unique time in human history. For the first time, the scientific pursuit of some of our oldest and most profound questions is possible: Are there other solar systems? Do they look like our own? Are we alone? I am incredibly grateful and honored to be able to participate in the effort to find answers to these questions. And I am astonished that I am, in fact, able to provide some of the answers. How cool is that?"

In an interview with IMSA, Gaudi also credited his IMSA experience for giving him the "conviction" to reach for the stars.

"I'm incredibly fortunate that IMSA existed and I was able to attend.  IMSA was the first and most important step in my journey to become the scientist, astronomer, and student of the universe that I am today," Dr. Gaudi said  "Not because of any of the facts that I learned there, but because it was at IMSA that I learned to always keep exploring and questioning, and it was at IMSA where I gained the conviction that I could accomplish anything that I set out to do."

Gaudi returned to his Illinois roots to share his love of science and the joys of discovery during two back-to-back lectures at IMSA and the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in 2009.

His lecture, A Quest for Our Origins: From Rural American Kid to Professional Astronomer, can be viewed at the following links:

Dr. Scott Gaudi ’91 – From Rural American Kid to Professional Astronomer

Dr. Scott Gaudi ’91 – The Search for Other Worlds and Life in the Universe

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