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Wayne State University professor selected for prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship

February 22, 2013

DETROIT — Wen Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry in Wayne State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was one of 126 researchers selected to receive a $50,000 Sloan Research Fellowship for 2013. The fellowships, awarded annually since 1955, are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars — the next generation of scientific leaders.

Li’s research focuses on the most exquisite details of chemical reactions. “Many things in everyday life come down to chemical reactions,” said Li. “In my lab, we study the motion of nuclei and electrons during such reactions. While people have been studying the nuclear motion of chemical reactions for a while, we are focusing on electrons, which for a long time people considered too fast to study. To date, no technique has been developed to track down their motions in real time, and this is what my research program aims to do in the next few years. This ultimately could help control chemical reactions.”

“The Sloan Research Fellows are among the best of the best of young scientists,” said Hilary Ratner, vice president for research at Wayne State University. “Dr. Li is most deserving of this award along with the many other accolades he has received in his young career.”

In late 2012, Li received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Li will receive a $1 million grant for that achievement, which will aid his Department of Defense research in providing a dynamic picture of how lasers interact with matter.

For more information about the Sloan Research Fellowship, visit http://www.sloan.org/fileadmin/media/files/press_releases/2013_SRF_Press_Release_vf.pdf

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Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.