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Rensselaer awarded gift to establish fellowship in astrobiology
Date:12/20/2012

Troy, N.Y. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced today a $480,000 gift from the Emily Landecker Foundation. The gift will establish the James P. Ferris Fellowship in Astrobiology, which will support graduate students in the School of Science pursuing research in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology. The fellowship is named in honor of Ferris, an emeritus professor of chemistry and chemical biology, currently a senior research professor, and a member of the New York Center for Astrobiology at Rensselaer.

"The field of Astrobiology seeks to address some of the most fascinating questions in science: What makes a planet habitable? How did life on Earth begin? Is there life elsewhere?" said Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer. "The James P. Ferris Fellowship in Astrobiology will allow us to attract the very best graduate students to Rensselaer to explore these compelling questions through their research. We are extremely grateful for the generous support of the Emily Landecker Foundation in establishing the fellowship, which is a fitting tribute to Jim Ferris' pioneering work in this exciting field."

The center places a strong emphasis on education and training, and graduate students with an interest in the field are offered strong opportunities for research under the mentorship of faculty members in the center, according to Professor Doug Whittet, director of the New York Center for Astrobiology at Rensselaer.

"Training the young scientists who will become future pioneers in astrobiology, space research, and related fields is an absolute priority for us," said Whittet. "The research carried out by faculty on our team provides unique opportunities for doctoral students. Our students gain not only experience and expertise within their chosen science discipline but also exposure to the interdisciplinary synergy that underpins this and other areas of science and technology today. The Ferris Fellowship p
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Contact: Mary Martialay
martim12@rpi.edu
518-276-2146
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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