Three Faculty Members Awarded Sloan Fellowships

February 12, 2023 • by Emily Engelbart

Congratulations to Greg Durrett, Sam Raskin and Hang Ren.

Portraits of three men

Hang Ren (left), Greg Durrett (center) and Sam Raskin

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced today the early-career researchers across the U.S. and Canada who are recipients of the 2023 Sloan Research Fellowship, including three UT Austin faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences: Greg Durrett, Sam Raskin and Hang Ren.

Based on a "candidate's research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in their field," independent panels composed of senior scholars select 126 recipients every year out of more than a thousand who are nominated by fellow scientists.

Since the foundation began in 1955, 100 UT faculty members have been selected including 2023's recipients.

Assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, Greg Durrett's research revolves around developing new methods for natural language processing. Durrett leads the TAUR Lab where they build machine learning models that can better analyze, understand and reason about the content of text. He is also a faculty member of the UT NLP and Computational Linguistics group, an organization that builds systems to produce and understand natural language. This process is beneficial for a variety of reasons, like to gain a deeper understanding of human language and cognition.

Sam Raskin, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, conducts research that primarily focuses on the local geometric Langlands program, once described as "a kind of grand unified theory of mathematics." His work has introduced new geometric methods for studying affine W-algebras and Kac-Moody representations. He also received an NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences Standard Grant from July 2021 to June 2024.

Hang Ren is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry whose area of focus includes electrochemistry and analytical chemistry. Ren is the principal investigator in UT's Ren Electrochemistry Group where they use scanning electrochemical probe microscopy to study fundamental electrocatalytic processes for energy storage and conversion. In addition to this early-career award, Ren also received the NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award this year.

"Sloan Research Fellows are shining examples of innovative and impactful research," says Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "We are thrilled to support their groundbreaking work and we look forward to following their continued success."

In order to advance the recipient's research, the foundation awards them a two-year, $75,000 fellowship.