Contacts:

Jeff Falk, University News Service, jfalk@umn.edu, (612) 626-1720

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (02/02/2012)—Two College of Science and Engineering faculty members are among six recipients University-wide of the 2012-14 McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, a program designed to advance the careers of the University’s most promising junior faculty. The winners were chosen for their potential for important contribution to their field; the degree to which their achievements and ideas demonstrate originality, imagination, and innovation; the significance of their research; and the potential for attracting outstanding students.

The goal of the program is to advance the careers of our most promising junior faculty at a critical point in their professional lives. Each recipient will receive a research grant in each year of the two-year appointment, to be used at the recipient’s discretion for expenditures directly related to research and scholarly activities. In addition, each professor is awarded either a year’s leave to pursue research during the second year of the award or a supplementary research grant.

The new McKnight Land-Grant Professors are:

Assistant professor Joshua Feinberg (earth sciences)
Mineral Magnetism: Applications to Geology, Archaeology and Mineral Physics

Joshua FeinbergFeinberg’s goal is to understand the way magnetic minerals form in nature. He aims to use their magnetic properties to improve our knowledge of past geologic processes and our interactions with modern-day natural systems. Drawing on the magnetic recording preserved in rocks and sediments, he addresses a broad range of interdisciplinary problems: the strength of Earth’s ancient magnetic field, the age of archaeological sites and fundamental mineral physics. The common thread of these themes is a deep appreciation for the origin of magnetic minerals, which Feinberg studies by combining field methods, geophysical experiments and advanced microscopy.

Assistant professor Daniel Keefe (computer science and engineering)
Working in Virtual Spaces: Interactive Visual Computing for Data Visualization and Creative Design

Daniel KeefeIn recent years, many powerful computing technologies have emerged, but the potential to closely couple computational techniques with sight, touch and other human capacities remains largely untapped. Keefe’s research integrates 3D computer graphics, human-computer interfaces, and real-world (often data- intensive) applications. His goal is to enable scientific discovery, creative workflows and new applications of computer science—creating new opportunities for humans and computers to collaborate in virtual spaces used for engineering, medicine, art and more.