Three UC Irvine physical science professors have each earned $50,000 research grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the university announced this week.

Chemistry professor Matt Law, assistant mathematics professor Jeffrey Streets and assistant physics and astronomy professor Jing Xia each earned the honor.

The winners are selected from 61 institutions across North America. They're picked for their work in chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences or physics.

"We recruit the best young faculty members in the country," Kenneth Janda, dean of UCI's School of Physical Sciences, said in a prepared statement.

To win an Alfred P. Sloan grant, candidates must be nominated by fellow scientists and then approved by an independent panel.

"If you want to know where the next big scientific breakthrough will come from," Paul Joskow, president of the foundation said in a prepared statement, "you need to look to these extraordinary men and women. The foundation is proud to support them during this pivotal stage of their careers."

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck