Masao Sako Named Arifa Hasan Ahmad and Nada Al Shoaibi Presidential Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Masao Sako has been named Arifa Hasan Ahmad and Nada Al Shoaibi Presidential Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Masao Sako has been named Arifa Hasan Ahmad and Nada Al Shoaibi Presidential Professor of Physics and Astronomy in Penn Arts & Sciences. Sako’s research focuses on observational cosmology with supernovae in order to study dark energy. He is a member of current and future large-scale optical surveys to map out the detailed history of the Universe’s expansion. Sako is an author of more than 200 articles in scientific journals, and his research has received support from grants by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and NASA.

An innovator on many fronts, Sako and his group are developing machine learning and deep learning methods for analysis. He has been honored for his teaching and mentorship five times, including with the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, the highest teaching award of the University. He was an early adopter of Structured, Active, In-class Learning (SAIL), and is faculty director of the Penn Boot Camps to teach students coding skills.

Hyder Ahmad, W'90, parent, and Faisal S. Al Shoaibi, W'90, established the Arifa Hasan Ahmad and Nada Al Shoaibi Presidential Professorship in 2020, naming it in honor of their mothers. Ahmad is a University Trustee and a member of the Penn Alumni Board of Directors and the Penn Arts & Sciences Board of Advisors. His previous Penn support includes the Ahmad Family Endowment for Penn Global Seminars in Arts and Sciences and the Arts & Sciences Annual Fund. He is the founder and chief investment officer of Broad Peak Investment Advisers Pte. Ltd., based in Singapore. Al Shoaibi is a member of the Penn Europe, Middle East, and Africa Leadership Committee and previously established the Faisal Al-Shoaibi Scholarship Fund. He is a director at the Shoaibi Group, based in Saudi Arabia.


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