NatSci physics and astronomy researchers named American Physical Society Fellows

  • Oct 14, 2016
  • Faculty & Staff, Research, Physics & Astronomy

Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) physics and astronomy professor Megan Donahue and associate professor Brian O’Shea have been elected as 2016 fellows of the American Physical Society (APS).

The fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one's professional peers for exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise–outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education. In a given year, only 0.5 percent of APS members are elected fellows.

Donahue was recognized by her peers for her work on advanced cosmological observations and analyses of galaxy clusters, and the relationship between the thermodynamic state of circumgalactic gas around massive galaxies, the triggering of active galactic nucleus feedback, and the regulation of star formation in galaxies. O’Shea was recognized for outstanding contributions to the study of cosmological structure formation using large-scale supercomputing, and leadership in the development of computational science research and education.

R. James Kirkpatrick, NatSci dean, said Donahue and O’Shea represent the highest ideals of Michigan State.

“Professor Donahue is an outstanding faculty member in all regards,” Kirkpatrick said. “Not only is she an exceptional researcher, but is the co-author of an undergraduate textbook and a leader in teaching astronomy to non-science students. Brian O’Shea is an outstanding researcher and is also deeply committed to undergraduate education. His leadership in developing the curriculum for MSU’s new Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE) will affect students far into the future. They are both to be congratulated on this well-deserved honor.”

Megan Donahue

Megan Donahue

Donahue joined MSU in 2003 as an associate professor and became a full professor in 2008. She received her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado.

“I am extremely pleased to be elected an APS fellow,” Donahue said. “It’s an acknowledgment from my professional community of physicists and astronomers for my scientific contributions, not only from me personally, but by my collaborators and my students. I also feel a national honor like this is evidence of the excellence of the scientific environment and opportunities I’ve experienced here at Michigan State.”

"This is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Donahue, who has a long record of excellence in research, teaching and service in astronomy and astrophysics," said Phil Duxbury, professor and chair of the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy. "It is also a credit to the strength of the department and MSU when faculty members receive this international recognition."

Brian O'Shea

Brian O'Shea

O’Shea, who also serves as the CMSE graduate director, joined MSU in 2008 as an assistant professor and became an associate professor in 2014. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  O’Shea said that he is grateful to his colleagues for this recognition and honored to join their ranks. 

“Being a faculty member at Michigan State has provided me with many unique opportunities to pursue research in computational astrophysics in collaboration with my outstanding colleagues and to make meaningful contributions to MSU’s educational mission,” O’Shea said. “In particular, the creation of the new CMSE department makes MSU an amazing place to work as a computational scientist, and I am hopeful that many faculty members and students benefit from its efforts.”

"Dr. O'Shea is an outstanding computational astrophysicist who is pushing the boundaries of both computational methods and research on the structure of the universe," Duxbury said. "It is a terrific accomplishment for him to be elected as an APS fellow so early in his career."

Donahue, O’Shea and the other newly elected APS fellows will be formally presented with their fellowship certificates at the 2017 annual meetings of the units through which they were elected—Donahue was elected through the Division of Astrophysics; O’Shea was elected through the Division of Computational Physics.