Robyn E. Sanderson Named 2023 Sloan Research Fellow

Robyn E. Sanderson, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Robyn E. Sanderson, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected to receive a 2023 Sloan Research Fellowship, which recognizes early-career scientists in North America. She is among 126 Fellows, researchers chosen from more than 1,000 nominees. Each winner receives a two-year, $75,000 research fellowship.

Sanderson’s research is concerned with methods to infer the distribution of dark matter in galaxies. Through the study of how stars and gas orbit in galaxies under the laws of gravity, especially in the outskirts of galaxies where dark matter produces most of the gravitational force, her lab is able to test theories of dark matter and galaxy formation. Sanderson’s group maintains several public datasets that provide astronomers with tools for directly comparing real surveys of the Milky Way’s stars to simulations of similar galaxies emerging from the cosmic web. Sanderson is also an affiliate scientist in the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute.

Awarded this year to 126 early-career scientists across the United States and Canada, the Sloan Research Fellowships are among the most competitive awards available to researchers. Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 129 faculty from Penn have received them, including a total of three this year.

Open to scholars in chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics, the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in coordination with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by fellow scientists, and winners are selected by independent panels of senior scholars based on a candidate’s research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become leaders in their fields.


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