University of Pittsburgh
March 7, 2010

Pitt in Brief News, Awards, and Developments From the University of Pittsburgh

Study of next-generation nanotech earns Pitt's Gurudev Dutt 2010 Sloan Fellowship Peyman Givi first Pitt faculty member inducted as an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Fellow Pitt to host philanthropy forum lecture by Michael Dahl, managing director and general counsel of Pew Charitable Trusts Pitt staffer and student named 2010 Iris Marion Young Award winners
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH- Behind the larger stories about the University of Pittsburgh are other stories of faculty, staff, and student achievement as well as information on Pitt programs reaching new levels of success. The following is a compilation of some of those stories.

Study of Next-generation Nanotech Earns Pitt's Gurudev Dutt 2010 Sloan Fellowship

Gurudev Dutt, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences, was recently selected a 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, a distinction that carries a two-year, $50,000 grant. Dutt was one of 118 young science researchers from 56 universities in the United States and Canada who received a 2010 fellowship, including faculty members at Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Dutt studies solid-state quantum systems ranging in size from single atoms to macroscopic collections of atoms coupled together. These systems show significant potential in next-generation nanotechnologies as well as in information processing and storage devices far superior to current computers. Dutt uses diamond-based materials and nanostructures to test how coherence and entanglement behave in a solid-state environment similar to that of future electronic devices. Dutt won a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2009 to explore how to control the quantum coherence (the phase of electron waves) and quantum entanglement (linking of atoms for combined power) of these highly advanced systems. Coherence and entanglement would allow the atoms in quantum systems to function cooperatively, increasing an electronic device's power and speed.

Numerous Pitt researchers have been selected as Sloan fellows since the awards were established in 1955. Among them are 2009 Fellows Brent Doiron, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, and Michael Grabe, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, both in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences. For more information, contact Pitt News Representative Morgan Kelly at 412-624-4356 (office), 412-897-1400 (cell), or

Peyman Givi First Pitt Faculty Member Inducted as American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Fellow

Engineering professor Peyman Givi recently became the first Pitt faculty member to be selected a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world's largest aerospace technical society. Givi, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering, was recognized for his "pioneering contributions in mathematical modeling and computational simulation of turbulent combustion." He is among 30 Fellows worldwide who will be honored at the May 12 AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

Givi studies the complex field of engine turbulence and creates computer models of engines to help engineers design more efficient, cleaner-burning engines while saving the time and expense of constructing an actual test engine. He oversees the Swanson School's Laboratory for Computational Transport Phenomena, which boasts high-speed minisupercomputers, graphic systems, and state-of-the-art hardware and software for running simulations. He also represents Pitt at NASA's National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion at the University of Virginia, which researches air-breathing propulsion, materials and structures, and boundary-layer control for aircraft that travel at Mach 5 and faster.

In 2005, Givi was awarded the NASA Public Service Medal for exceptional contributions to NASA's mission. In 1992, he was among the first faculty members nationwide to receive the Presidential Faculty Fellowship established by President George H. W. Bush. Givi also is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. For more information, contact Pitt News Representative Morgan Kelly at 412-624-4356 (office), 412-897-1400 (cell),

Pitt to Host Philanthropy Forum Lecture by Michael Dahl, Managing Director and General Counsel of Pew Charitable Trusts

The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership within Pitt's Graduate School for Public and International Affairs will host a March 29 lecture by Michael Dahl, managing director and general counsel of Pew Charitable Trusts, as part of the institute's Future of Philanthropy Series. The presentation, titled "From Private Foundation to Public Charity: The Pew Charitable Trusts Bets on a New Model for Change," will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the University Club, Ballroom A, 123 University Place, Oakland.

Dahl will discuss Pew's experience with converting from a private foundation to a public charity and how being a private foundation limited its ability to bring about broad social change. Karen Feinstein, president of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, will offer a response to Dahl's presentation. Admittance is free, though an RSVP is required. To reserve a seat, e-mail or call 412-648-1336.

For more information, contact Pitt News Representative Amanda Leff Ritchie at 412-624-4238 (office), 412-337-3350 (cell),

Pitt Staffer and Student Named 2010 Iris Marion Young Award Winners

A Pitt staff member and a Pitt student have been honored with the 2010 Iris Marion Young Awards for Political Engagement. Gail Austin, director of Pitt's Academic Resource Center, is the recipient of the staff award. Michelle McGowan, a senior in Pitt's School of Social Work, received the undergraduate award.

The awards honor the late Professor Iris Marion Young, a philosopher and social theorist who had a faculty appointment in Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She died of cancer in 2006. The two awards are given annually to those who work to promote social justice and democracy.

Austin has worked for 40 years as an advocate for civil rights, human rights, and peace-both at the University and in the community. With other activists, she helped form the Afro-American Cultural Society, which works to increase the number of Black students, staff, and faculty at Pitt. She has been an advocate and resource for students in her roles as staff member of the University Challenge for Excellence Program (UCEP) and, more recently, as director of the Academic Resource Center. She served on the Pitt Divestment Coalition and was active in Pittsburghers Against Apartheid, the national Free South Africa Movement, the No Dope Campaign, and African Americans Against War. Austin's latest work focuses on Black Voices for Peace, an organization that opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is president of the Kente Arts Alliance, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to bringing quality arts programming to underserved communities.

McGowan, who will receive her bachelor's degree in social work this May, began her political activism in high school. She participated in the Million Women March and earned a service-learning certificate for her work with Easter Seals and Planned Parenthood. At Pitt, McGowan has been active in the G-20 Resistance Project and Students Taking Action Now in Darfur (STAND). She earned a certificate in community development from Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, where she helped women who were at high risk for sexual assault and HIV. McGowan, who has interned for the last two years at the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, plans to seek her master's degree in social work at Pitt.

The two women received their honors at a March 4 reception at The Twentieth Century Club in Oakland.

For more information, contact Pitt News Representative Sharon Blake at 412-624-4364 (office), 412-277-6926 (cell),