Carnegie Mellon Physicist Shirley Ho Wins Outstanding Young Researcher Award From International Organization of Chinese Physicists and Astronomers
By Jocelyn Duffy
PITTSBURGH—Shirley Ho, assistant professor of physics and a member of the McWilliams Center for Cosmology at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named a co-winner of the 2014 Outstanding Young Researcher Award from the International Organization of Chinese Physicists and Astronomers. The Macronix Prize, which is given to young, ethnic Chinese physicists or astronomers working outside of Asia, recognizes Ho for her leadership in large, international collaborations that have resulted in the most precise measurement of cosmic distances and contributed to the understanding of the nature of the expansion history of the universe.
"I am very honored to have been recognized with the Macronix Prize," Ho said. "This is a wonderful recognition of all of the collaborations I have been part of, especially the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, that have pushed forward the science of the universe's large-scale structure."
Ho conducts research that seeks to provide a greater understanding of our universe, including dark matter and dark energy. She is best known for leading the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III teams that completed the most precise measurement of a standard ruler of the universe — baryon acoustic oscillations — both perpendicular to and along the line of sight of observers, and completed the most accurate calculation of the distribution of matter in the universe to date. Well known for her work in developing techniques that correct for systematic errors in data collected by telescopes, Ho and other researchers have been able to precisely measure initial conditions, cosmic distance scales and the growth of structure in the universe, thereby providing a picture of the universe's expansion history.
"Early in her career, Shirley has a list of major accomplishments," said Fred Gilman, dean of Carnegie Mellon's Mellon College of Science and director of the McWilliams Center. "I have no doubt that she will be at the forefront of cosmology for decades."
Ho is an instrumental member of Carnegie Mellon's McWilliams Center, driving the center's participation in a number of large-scale international cosmology collaborations. She is one of 55 members selected to the U.S. team working on the EUCLID project, is co-chair of the intergalactic medium working group for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV, and is co-chair of working groups planning the next generation of research at the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument projects.
A native of Hong Kong, Ho earned bachelor's degrees in physics and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley and her doctoral degree in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University. She completed her postdoctoral work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under a Chamberlain Fellowship and a Seaborg Fellowship. She joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 2011.
Ho shares the 2014 Macronix Prize with Kang-Kuen Ni, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University.