Ten exceptional early-career scholars will join the College of Arts and Sciences this year as recipients of Klarman Postdoctoral Fellowships, enabling them to pursue leading-edge research in the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
The fourth cohort of Klarman Fellows is the largest since the program’s launch in 2019, thanks to significant additional support from Seth Klarman ’79 and Beth Schultz Klarman and includes scholars investigating quantum phases of two-dimensional materials, mechanisms of social mobility, housing politics of metro areas, and gaps between neuro cognition and artificial intelligence, among other critical topics.
“The Klarman Postdoctoral Fellowships program is exceeding our hopes, sparking collaborative research and advancing Cornell as a center for inquiry by leading scholars and scientists into the issues that matter most in today’s world,” said President Martha E. Pollack. “I’m looking forward to seeing how these new fellows help drive exploration and discovery across the university.”
“Members of the 2023 cohort are already making waves in their research fields,” said Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Hans A. Bethe Professor, who has led the program’s conception, launch and oversight. “The unconstrained time and generous support provided by the Klarman Fellowships, together with the model of collaboration with Arts and Sciences faculty, will ensure these talented scholars thrive at Cornell and catalyze our intellectual community.”
For example, incoming fellow Hongyuan Li and his collaborators have imaged so-called Wigner crystals, electrons forming honeycomb patterns if the conditions are just right, for the first time, resulting in a Nature paper with Li as the first author. All together his papers have been cited more than 1,900 times, a highly unusual record for someone still completing his Ph.D., Jayawardhana said. As a Klarman Fellow, Li will be hosted by Kin Fai Mak, professor of physics (A&S), and Jie Shan, professor of applied and engineering physics (Engineering), world leaders in 2D quantum materials.
“Cornell investigators are conducting breakthrough research into quantum materials,” Jayawardhana said. “Hongyuan Li’s innovative work will align with and benefit from our Radical Collaboration on Quantum Science and Engineering.”
Free of teaching obligations or specific grant constraints, Klarman Fellows can devote themselves to their own research agendas, working with A&S faculty mentors and others. The questions that incoming fellows plan to pursue include: How did America’s progressive cities become unaffordable for many? Why can’t AI, despite great progress in the past decade, approach the flexibility and adaptability of even simple brains? And what is “writing?”
Others’ inquiries range from the impacts of public policy on low-income mothers and children to biocatalysis; and from the centrality of contract labor for Asian American literary history to geometric analysis.
Kate Blackwood is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.