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03/28/1996 08:00:00

Fairchild Foundation Awards $2.5 Million to Caltech Physics and Astronomy

PASADENA—The Sherman Fairchild Foundation has awarded $2.5 million to the California Institute of Technology to support postdoctoral researchers in physics and astronomy.

The gift, which extends over eight years, will support six scientists in theoretical physics or astrophysics, five in observational optical-infrared astronomy, and two in experimental physics, astrophysics, or radio astronomy. The first contingent of Sherman Fairchild Scholars will begin their term at Caltech in the fall of 1996.

In physics and astronomy today, a person with a new PhD is seldom considered fully ready for a long-term position. Many recent doctoral graduates therefore spend a few years gaining research experience in a postdoctoral position, working under the guidance of an experienced scientist.

"This award will allow us to bring to Caltech the very best new PhDs as Sherman Fairchild Postdoctoral Scholars," said Charles Peck, professor of physics and chair of Caltech's Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. "Postdoctoral scholars bring to our campus new ideas, unexpected initiatives, and wonderful opportunities for cross-disciplinary research. They are our future leaders in academia, industry, and government, and may well turn out to be future members of Caltech's faculty, or future Nobel laureates."

The Sherman Fairchild Foundation was incorporated in 1955 by Sherman Mills Fairchild, inventor of the Fairchild aerial camera, chairman of Fairchild Camera Instrument Company and of Fairchild Hiller Corporation, owner of Fairchild Recording Equipment Company, and a director of IBM. When Fairchild died in 1971, he left most of his estate to the foundation.

The foundation has been a longtime supporter of Caltech and has made many notable grants to the campus. Among them are the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholars Program, which serves as a model for the enrichment of the academic environment through visits from eminent scientists and engineers, the Sherman Fairchild Library of Engineering and Applied Science, which is currently under construction, and the continuing support of postdoctoral scholars and fellows in the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy.

Contact: Jay Aller (818) 395-3631

Written by John Avery