Caltech: David Hsieh Receives Inaugural Brown Investigator Award

The Brown Science Foundation has bestowed one of two inaugural Brown Investigator Awards, each of which includes research funding of $2 million over five years, to David Hsieh, professor of physics at Caltech. The other award goes to William Irvine of the University of Chicago. The Brown Science Foundation was established in 1992 by Caltech alumnus and philanthropist Ross M. Brown (BS’ 56, MS ’57). According to the foundation’s news release, the Brown Investigator Awards recognize “curiosity-driven basic research in chemistry and physics.”

“I am incredibly grateful to the Brown Science Foundation for its support of mid-career scientists and for providing me this unique opportunity for high-risk exploration,” says Hsieh.

Hsieh’s laboratory seeks to uncover novel and exotic phases of matter in quantum materials and to develop ways to manipulate their electronic properties. Some of his group’s more recent work includes figuring out how to “flip the bits” of an exotic phase of matter known as an excitonic insulator; identifying signatures of the first three-dimensional quantum liquid crystals; and finding new clues to the riddle of high-temperature superconductivity.

The Brown Science Foundation is “dedicated to the belief that scientific discovery is a driving force in the improvement of the human condition,” according to its news release from the Science Philanthropy Alliance, which counts the foundation among its members. The foundation “supports the often-overlooked resource of mid-career physics and chemistry researchers in the U.S.,” and plans to make eight investigator awards available annually by 2025. An article about Ross Brown’s philanthropic journey can be found at the Science Philanthropy Alliance website.

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