University of California, Los Angeles
Candidate for General Councillor
Dolores Bozovic received her PhD in Physics in 2001 from Harvard University, on electron transport in carbon nanotubes. She switched fields for her postdoctoral training, joining the Sensory Neuroscience laboratory at Rockefeller University on a HHMI fellowship. From 2005 to the present, she was Assistant and then Associate Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the California NanoSystems Institute, at University of California Los Angeles.
The Bozovic lab focuses on problems at the interface between physics and auditory neuroscience. The experiments are aimed at understanding how the biological detectors – hair cells of the inner ear – achieve their remarkable sensitivity of detection. Mechanical measurements at the nanoscale level are interpreted in the context of nonlinear dynamics, to explain phenomena such as synchronization and self-tuning in response to external stimulus.
Her laboratory is interdisciplinary in nature, with experimental and theoretical tools from different fields integrated to address the open questions. In 2008, she was awarded the Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Prize for her research. As a teacher, she has focused on incorporating instrument building with biophysical measurements, and has received teaching awards. She has been a mentor for a number of undergraduate research programs for underrepresented minorities, as well as a research mentor for Marlborough school, a mid- and high-school for young women.
The inter-disciplinary nature of my research is reflected in my teaching and service within and outside of the university. It remains a challenge and an open question to all of us, how to maintain the rigor and depth of a traditional physics education, while introducing students and postdocs to a broad range of scientific topics and fields which are continually opening up. The fact that the methodology of physics can be applied to an ever-growing number of problems, from biology to sustainability and economics, provides an exciting opportunity for young scientists, but also poses a challenge to them and their mentors in designing the best training and preparation. The APS provides a natural forum for such discussions on education and training of young physicists in the current scientific climate.
Secondly, the physics community would benefit from a broader outreach to the general public. The excitement, elegance, and importance of physics is very obvious to those of us who have spent many years studying it, but it does not always translate to a broad audience. While there are many impressive examples of successful popular physics books and lectures, the topic still remains largely esoteric. The APS could serve as a catalyst to encourage a broader communication between physics institutions and the surrounding communities, and educate the public about ongoing research in the many fields and applications of physics. Such outreach is important in broadening the base of women, minorities, and socio-economic groups who are encouraged to pursue careers in physics.