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When the Department of Defense offers researchers the chance to think big and take risks, and provides the funding to back it up, scientists tend to get really excited.

“That’s music to the ears of anyone doing basic research, the freedom to be able to go deep,” said Robert Ghrist, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor with appointments in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts & Sciences’ Department of Mathematics and the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering.

He and Nader Engheta, the H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor in Penn Engineering, recently earned the chance to push their research further through a DOD award called the National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship, an honor only seven scientists across the country received in 2015.

For Ghrist, the Andrea Mitchell University Professor at Penn, that means $2.2 million dollars over five years to continue work on a field of math called algebraic topology. To explain it, he describes a cocktail party.

Read more at Penn News.