Gem of the Day 2/20: Texas A&M Oceanography Prof Kessler Awarded Sloan Research Fellowship

By: Texas A&M
By: Texas A&M

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has named Texas A&M Oceanography researcher and professor Dr. John Kessler as a recipient of a 2012 Sloan Research Fellowship.

Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders. Kessler was one of 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers who received a fellowship this year.

“Today’s Sloan Research Fellows are tomorrow’s Nobel Prize winners,” said Dr. Paul L. Joskow, president of the Sloan Foundation. “These outstanding men and women are responsible for some of the most exciting science being done today.”

Historically awarded in seven scientific fields — chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience and physics — the fellowships were expanded this year to include awards to eight young researchers working in the ocean sciences.

Kessler, a chemical oceanographer who focuses on isotope biogeochemistry and methane dynamics within the oceanic system, was awarded in the inaugural category of ocean sciences. Kessler is known most recently for his research in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He was named one of Discover Magazine’s “Top 100 Stories of 2011.”

“The best way to make yourself look good is to surround yourself with good people. This award is as much a recognition of the people I’m lucky enough to call colleagues as it is of me,” said Kessler. “Included on this list are several graduate students who are contributing in a real way to our understanding of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as well as the natural dynamics of the ocean methane system.”

Previously, 16 faculty members at Texas A&M University have been the recipients of Sloan Fellowships between 1976 and today in the fields of chemistry, economics, mathematics and physics. Kessler is supported by grants from both the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Dr. Kessler’s work has been invaluable in understanding the behavior of methane during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Our college is proud to see him honored by this prestigious and well-deserved award,” said Dr. Kate Miller, dean of the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M. She noted that not only has his research been highly acclaimed, but he has ably involved a number of graduate students in producing the groundbreaking research and associated high-profile publications.

Administered and funded by the Sloan Foundation, the fellowships are awarded in close cooperation with the scientific community. To qualify, candidates must first be nominated by their peers and are subsequently selected by an independent panel of senior scholars. Fellows receive $50,000 to be used to further their research.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. The foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.

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