The National Science Foundation has made its selections for its most prestigious award for Faculty Early Career Development and 5 years of gravitational-wave research at CSUF. Josh pictured here in his lab with research student Fabian Magaña-Sandoval (left).

Josh Smith has received an NSF CAREER award for his proposed project Gravitational-Wave Detector Characterization and Science Education in the Advanced LIGO Era. His award will provide a total of $450,000 over a five-year period to support an integrated research and education program in gravitational-wave science for Josh and his students at CSUF.

The NSF describes this award as follows: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. 

Josh plans to focus his efforts and his students on characterizing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and measurement of scattered light from optical materials toward improving LIGO's astrophysical reach. Josh will work with nearby community colleges, in coordination with the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics here at home, to establish a pathway for students to transfer to CSUF to take part in research and education in the physics department and our center for gravitational-wave physics and astronomy GWPAC .

Josh will also collaborate with our Catalyst Center to develop new educational material for Astronomy 101, which will be offered Fall 2013 along with a new, companion astronomy lab course. These activities will be geared to foster the first direct detections of gravitational waves with LIGO and to train at CSUF the next generation of scientists.

Josh joined the department in January 2010 as an assistant professor of physics and hit the ground running with his first NSF grant from a proposal he wrote over the summer in 2009 after accepting the job here at CSUF. Since then he has mentored a number of research students and took the lead role in planning and proposing GWPAC. The department celebrated the opening of GWPAC last September and the addition of two new faculty members and fellow gravitational-wave researchers Jocelyn Read and Geoffrey Lovelace in a newly renovated facility in the department.

Congratulations Josh, you make the department and the college proud!