The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences announced on July 26 that astrophysicist Shirley Ho is a finalist for the 2023 Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists in the physical sciences and engineering category.
Ho leads the Cosmology X Data Science group at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA) and is a professor at New York University (NYU).
The awards recognize America’s most innovative faculty-ranked scientists and engineers under the age of 42, according to the Blavatnik foundation website. The winner from each of the three categories — life sciences, chemistry, and physical sciences and engineering — receives $250,000, the largest unrestricted scientific award in the country. In addition to this year’s winners, 28 researchers are honored as finalists.
The 2023 announcement highlights Ho’s work “translating what deep neural networks have learned from computational simulations and astronomical data into astrophysical insights through a combination of deep learning and other statistical techniques.” Ho has broad expertise in theory, observation and data science. Her recent interest has been in understanding and developing novel tools in statistics and machine learning techniques and applying them to astrophysical challenges. She aims to understand the universe’s beginning, evolution and its ultimate fate.
Ho earned a Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 2008 and bachelor’s degrees in computer science and physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004. She was a Chamberlain Fellow and a Seaborg Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory before joining Carnegie Mellon University in 2011 as an assistant professor. She became the Cooper-Siegel Career Development Chair Professor and went on to be appointed associate professor with tenure at Carnegie in 2016. She moved to Lawrence Berkeley Lab as a Senior Scientist in 2016. In 2020, she joined NYU as a research professor of physics.
The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences will celebrate Ho alongside the other finalists and winners in a ceremony on September 19 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.