McGill University Astrophysicist Matt Dobbs has been awarded a prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship. Dobbs, a Canada Research Chair in Astro-particle Physics, investigates a big subject: the origins and evolution of the universe.
Dobbs does this by studying cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation to shed light on the fundamental structures governing the universe. He joins an illustrious group – 38 Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to win Nobel Prizes. The Fellowships are awarded to “early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise” in recognition of the fact that financial assistance at this point in a researcher’s career is often crucial to his or her future scientific success.
Of the total $5.9 million U.S. awarded annually, Dobbs will receive $50,000 over two years. Dobbs explains his research as being about “fundamental cosmology and good old-fashioned adventure… we’re building instruments to image the earliest moments of the universe’s evolution, and then taking them to the very corners of the globe and beyond – the geographic South Pole, Chile’s Atacama plateau at 5100m altitude, and the top of the atmosphere aboard a NASA stratospheric balloon.”
Dobbs believes CMB radiation may reveal clues about the beginnings of the universe, symmetries within its structures, and eventually the Grand Unified Theory through which physicists seek to explain fundamental interactions. Congratulating Dobbs for his achievement, McGill’s Dean of Science Martin Grant is “proud to be in a Faculty with scientists of Matt's quality.” Dobbs in turn believes that “success is not just about scientific excellence, but also about getting things done in extreme environments – I’ll be relying on the abilities of our exceptional team of students, post-docs, and collaborators as much as my own.”
The Fellowship is awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic, not-for-profit institution based in New York City that makes grants to support original research and broad-based education related to science, technology, and economic performance.