PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Odest Chadwicke (Chad) Jenkins, assistant professor of computer science, and Pradeep Guduru, assistant professor engineering, have received Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for outstanding contributions to their fields. The two Brown professors, along with 54 other young scientists from across the country, received their awards during a White House ceremony Nov. 1, 2007.
The PECASE program honors promising young scientists who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for discovery and leadership. The award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent careers.
Jenkins’ work focuses on learning the basic building blocks of human motion with the goal of improving robotic interactions with humans. He performs motion capture research on living subjects and uses the data to understand human movement. The data can then be used to teach robots to move in a more natural manner and ultimately to collaborate better with humans.
Guduru’s research looks at the mechanics of adhesion and friction. One aspect of his work is to study biological attachment – the ability of some insects and animals to walk up vertical surfaces or across ceilings and then detach and reattach with ease. He and his students also fabricate micro- and nanoscale surface architectures which can mimic nature’s devices. Understanding these mechanical principles can lead to useful applications for humans and robots.
The goal of the PECASE awards is to foster innovative developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in those fields, and highlight their importance for the nation’s future. Jenkins was nominated for the award by the U.S. Department of Defense. Guduru’s recommendation for the award came from the National Science Foundation.
Jenkins received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Southern California in 2003. He joined Brown in 2004.
Guduru received his Ph.D. in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology in 2001. He joined the Division of Engineering at Brown as a postdoctoral research associate and was appointed assistant professor in 2002.