Friday, March 09, 2012

Scott wins the Waterman

The NSF's most prestigious prize, the Alan T. Waterman award, recognizes an outstanding young scientist (35 or under) in any field of science or engineering. Breaking with tradition this year the NSF picked not one but two winners, computer scientists Scott Aaronson (MIT) and Robert Wood (Harvard).

Most of you readers know Scott well. He's already an established leader in quantum computing and computational complexity and has his own awesome blog. Not sure why NSF decided to use a photo of Scott proving Karp-Lipton wearing a skirt. The CCC blog post points to Scott's TedxCaltech talk. I'll just link to the podcast I had with Scott back in 2005.

Computational complexity has won two Watermans in the last three years as Subhash Khot received the award in 2010.

Robert Wood is the principal investigator of the RoboBees project, which is pretty much as the title suggests, insect-inspired robots. Sweet revenge for being called the number one example of government waste by Sean Hannity.


  1. That's not a skirt, it's a sarong. See for more mathematicians proving theorems in sarongs.

  2. Yeah, they asked for a "photo related to my research," and that was the best I could think of. But then they got the caption wrong: I wasn't teaching a class when that photo was taken; I was in Daniel Gottesman's office at the Perimeter Institute.

    Anyway, thanks Lance!

  3. This NSF award was well-earned. Many folks (including me) appreciate the outstanding technical merits of Scott's work, and admire Scott's inspiring narrative of "great adventure" that supplies meaning to that work, and are grateful for the enthusiasm and help that Scott generously shares with everyone. Outstanding!