Two University of Texas at Austin faculty members were recenty honored at the White House with the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government for science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.
Brady Cox from the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and Brent Waters from the Department of Computer Science were honored by President Barack Obama at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., July 31.
They were among 96 researchers who received the award.
"Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people," Obama said. "The impressive accomplishments of the awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead."
Cox, 35, will join the Cockrell School faculty in August from the University of Arkansas, where he was an assistant professor in civil engineering. He specializes in geotechnical engineering issues related to earthquake loading, soil dynamics and nondestructive material characterization using stress waves. He has been a part of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance teams deployed immediately after recent major earthquakes including those in New Zealand and Haiti.
He was selected for the Presidential award because of his work on non-intrusive subsurface imaging using seismic surface wave methods. These tests are used to determine the layering and dynamic properties of foundation soils under a building site, which is necessary information for designing structures to resist earthquake damage. Cox’s research focuses on making these methods more reliable.
"It is truly a great honor to receive this presidential award and to be considered among such an elite group of early-career scientists and engineers," Cox said. "I am really excited to join the faculty of the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT. This new group of amazing collaborators and facilities will help me carry my research program to a level that would be unobtainable elsewhere."
The awards, established by President Bill Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.