APS News

Physicists to be Honored at 1997 March Meeting

Eight APS prizes and awards will be presented during a special ceremonial session at the 1997 APS March Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, to be held later this month. Citations and biographical information for each recipient follow.

The Langmuir Prize was established in 1964 by the General Electric Foundation (now the GE Fund) to recognize outstanding interdisciplinary research in chemistry and physics, in the spirit of Irving Langmuir.

Jack Herschel Freed
Cornell University

Citation: "For his development of new magnetic resonance methods and theory, including computational algorithms for the stochastic Liouville equation, time-domain ESR methods for the study of molecular dynamics in liquids, applications of ESR to surface science, and the discovery of nuclear spin-waves in spin- polarized H atoms."

Freed received his PhD from Columbia University in 1962 and joined the faculty of Cornell University the following year, where he has remained ever since. His current research interests focus on the application of magnetic resonance to problems in chemical physics and biophysics, including the further development of two-dimensional and Fourier-transform ESR techniques to enhance the sensitivity to motional dynamics in complex fluids.


The Onsager Prize was established in 1993 by an endowment from Drs. Russell and Marian Donnelly. It is intended to recognize outstanding research in theoretical statistical physics, including the quantum fluids.

Robert H. Kraichnan
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Citation: "For his deep contributions and sustained leadership in the field of turbulence theory. His quantitative predictions for the inverse cascade in two-dimensional turbulence, his treatment of passive scalar transport, and his direct interaction approximation are landmark achievements."

Kraichnan received his PhD in theoretical physics from MIT in 1949. He has been a research member at the Institute for Advanced Study and Bell Laboratories, and a research associate at Columbia University and the Courant Institute at New York University, but has been self-employed for much of his professional career. A past recipient of the Otto LaPorte Award, he has served as a consultant, contractor or grantee for the Naval Research Laboratory, NASA, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the Institute for Defense Analysis, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Established in 1952 by an endowment from AT&T Bell Laboratories, the Oliver E. Buckley Prize is intended to recognize and encourage outstanding theoretical or experimental contributions to condensed matter physics in America.

James S. Langer
University of California, Santa Barbara

Citation: "For contributions to the theory of kinetics of phase transitions particularly as applied to nucleation and dendritic growth."

Langer received his PhD in mathematical physics at the University of Birmingham, England, in 1958 and returned to join the faculty of Carnegie-Mellon University, where he had received his B.S. degree three years earlier. In 1982, he became professor of physics and a permanent member of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB, serving as the institute's director from 1989 to 1995. His research has been in the theory of nonequilibrium phenomena in condensed matter, specifically in such areas as quantum many-body theory of transport in solids, the kinetics of first- order phase transitions, dendritic pattern formation in crystal growth, and most recently, the dynamics of earthquake and fracture. He is chair-elect of the APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics, which he will chair in 1997.


The Davisson-Germer Prize was established in 1965 by AT&T Bell Laboratories. It is intended to recognize and encourage outstanding work in atomic physics or surface physics.

Jerry Tersoff
IBM/T.J. Watson Research Center

Citation: "For insightful, creative theoretical descriptions of surface phenomenology; particularly of crystal growth dynamics, surface structures and their probes."

Tersoff received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982 and spent two years as a postdoc at Bell Laboratories before joining the research staff at the IBM/T.J. Watson Research Center, where he has remained ever since. He has worked in a variety of areas relating to surface and interface physics and materials physics, including theories of scanning tunneling microscopy, model interatomic potentials, stress effects at surfaces, and strain relaxation in epitaxial thin films. Most recently he has addressed ways in which, during heteroepitaxial growth, strain can lead to controllable self-assembly and self-organization of nanostructures such as quantum dots and quantum wires.


The High Polymer Physics Prize was established by an endowment from the Ford Motor Company to recognize outstanding accomplishment and excellence in contributions to high polymer physics research.

Frank Steven Bates
University of Minnesota

Citation: "For outstanding contributions to the physics of polymer-polymer phase behavior and the self-assemby of block-polymers."

Bates received his PhD in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982 and promptly joined the technical staff at Bell Laboratories. In 1989 he moved to the University of Minnesota, where he is presently a Distinguished McKnight University Professor. He was awarded the Dillon Medal in 1989, and is a divisional associate editor of Physical Review Letters. Bates has investigated a variety of topics related to the thermodynamics and dynamics of polymers and polymer mixtures, including isotope-driven phase separation, order and disorder in block copolymers, and critical phenomena in block copolymer- homopolymer blends. He is currently studying non-equilibrium phenomena in self-assembled soft materials in bulk and thin film forms.


The Earle K. Plyler Prize was established in 1976 by the George E. Crouch Foundation to recognize and encourage notable contributions to molecular spectroscopy.

Roger Ervin Miller
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
David Nesbitt
JILA/University of Colorado

Citation: "In recognition of their spectroscopic investigations that have elucidated the structure and eigenstate resolved dynamics of weakly bound complexes. They have each pioneered a novel method of high resolution infrared spectroscopy and have used their respective methods in a series of insightful investigations of a wide range of chemically important complexes."

Miller received his PhD from the University of Waterloo in Canada in 1980, where his research focused on the development and use of a new and powerful laser spectroscopic method, now well- known as Opto-Thermal Spectroscopy. He then spent four years at the Australian National University as a research fellow, where he set up a new laboratory for the study of intermolecular forces. He also applied this method to the study of weakly bound complexes and in crossed molecular beam scattering studies. In 1985 he joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina, where he was recently appointed as John B. Carroll Professor. He has worked in such areas as spectroscopy and dynamics of weakly bound complexes, surface sciences, atmospheric chemistry, and combustion.

Nesbitt received his PhD at the University of Colorado in 1981. He is presently Adjunct Professor at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado. A past recipient of the APS Wilson Prize, Nesbitt's experimental research at JILA has involved application of direct absorption IR laser techniques to study flash kinetic spectroscopy of transient radicals, unimolecular energy flow in vibrationally excited states, state-to-state collisional energy transfer dynamics in crossed beams, and spectroscopy of weakly bound van der Waals and hydrogen bonded complexes in silt supersonic jet expansions.


The David Adler Lectureship Award was established in 1988 by contributions from friends of David Adler. Its purpose is to recognize an outstanding contributor to the field of materials physics, who is noted for his or her research, review articles, and lecturing.

John D. Joannopoulos
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Citation: "For his pioneering use of modern computational tools for the calculation of the electronic, vibrational and optical properties of amorphous, crystalline and photonic bandgap materials, including their surfaces and defects, and for his excellence in lecturing, writing and training students in these areas."

Joannopoulos received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1974 and promptly joined the faculty of MIT, where he is currently a professor of physics. His research efforts have been in theoretical condensed matter physics, and he is responsible for the development of numerous calculational schemes and techniques for the study of complex solid systems. He has authored or co-authored more than 275 journal articles and one textbook, and holds six U.S. patents.


The John H. Dillon Medal was established in 1983 by the Division of High Polymer Physics to recognize outstanding research accomplishments by a young polymer physicist.

Nitash Prevez Balsara
Brooklyn Polytechnic University

Citation: "For innovative and illuminating optical and neutron experiments to probe the state of order in multi-component polymer systems."

A native of India, Balsara received his PhD in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1988, and then did postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota and at Exxon Research and Engineering Company. In 1992 he joined the faculty at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, New York, where he is currently an associate professor of chemical engineering. A recipient of the NSF's Young Investigator Award in 1994, Balsara's research is concerned with microstructure formation and phase transitions in multicomponent polymer materials.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin