O'Shea named APS fellow

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Oct. 14, 2016

Brian O’Shea named fellow of the American Physical Society

An associate professor at Michigan State University has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) for his outstanding contributions to computational astronomy.Brian O'Shea has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society for using large-scale supercomputing, and leadership in computational science research and education.

Brian O’Shea, who is among the first faculty members appointed to MSU’s new Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE), was elected by his peers to the 2016 APS Class of Fellows. The APS Division of Computational Physics recommended his national recognition during the APS September board meeting.

CMSE, which is jointly administered by the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Science, is among the first computational academic units in the nation to comprehensively treat computation as the "triple junction" of algorithm development and analysis, high performance computing, and applications to scientific and engineering modeling and data science. O’Shea serves CMSE as its graduate director.

O’Shea’s APS citation reads:
“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.”

APS Fellows number no more than one-half of one percent of the APS membership. 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. 

O’Shea said he is grateful to his colleagues and honored to join their ranks.  

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

Leo Kempel, dean of the College of Engineering, said the Spartan Engineering community is proud of O’Shea and his accomplishments both in basic research and in the classroom.

“His intellectual leadership both at Michigan State University and in the scholarly community is an excellent example for all of our faculty and generations of future faculty,” Kempel added.

R. James Kirkpatrick, dean of the College of Natural Science, said O’Shea represents the highest ideals of Michigan State.

“Not only is he an outstanding researcher, but he is deeply committed to undergraduate education,” Kirkpatrick said. “His leadership in developing the curriculum for the new CMSE department will affect students far into the future.”

O’Shea is a computational and theoretical astrophysicist. His research involves numerical simulations and analytical modeling of cosmological structure formation, the cosmic web, galaxy clusters, high-redshift galaxies, and Milky Way-type galaxies. 

He has joint appointments in The Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. He is a member of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Michigan Institute for Plasma Science and Engineering, and the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation

O’Shea received a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics (2000) from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he also earned a master’s degree (2002) and PhD (2005) in physics.