APS News

Physicists Honored with DAMOP, Shock Compression Awards

Three physicists were honored recently with awards from the APS. Brett Esry and Jens Nöckel, both recent PhDs, were selected as co-recipients of the Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular or Optical Physics during the APS Centennial Meeting in Atlanta. And Lynn M. Barker of Valyn International has been selected as the recipient of the 1999 Shock Compression Science Award, to be presented during the Shock Compression of Condensed Matter meeting in Snowbird, Utah, later this month.

Lynn M. Barker

Lynn M. Barker
Valyn International
Citation: "In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the temporal measurement and interpretation of nonlinear physical processes in shock-compressed matter."

A former U.S. Navy carrier pilot in the Korean War, Barker earned his MS in physics from the University of Arizona in 1955 and subsequently completed a year of post-graduate studies at Columbia University in 1962. He spent 27 years at Sandia National Laboratories, making important innovations in time-resolved shock-wave instrumentation, and applying new techniques for measuring the dynamic properties of condensed materials. From 1974 to 1981 he was a senior staff consultant with Terra Tek in Salt Lake City, Utah, developing a new fracture toughness test method. Since 1990, he has been president of his own company, Valyn International, where he continues to contribute innovations to the VISAR shock wave instrumentation techniques he pioneered in the 1970s.

Brett Esry

Brett Esry
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Citation: "For his thesis entitled, Many-body effects in Bose-Einstein condensates of dilute atomic gases."

Esry began studying atomic physics as an undergraduate at Kansas State University and graduated with a BS in 1993. He continued his studies in atomic physics as a graduate student at the University of Colorado, working with Chris H. Greene at JILA. While at JILA, Esry collaborated on a number of problems outside the scope of his primary thesis work, the many-body theory of Bose-Einstein condensation. These additional problems included a study of Efimov states in the helium trimer, double photoionization in helium, ultracold atomic collisions, and aspects of the decay of metastable ionic molecules. Upon receiving his PhD in 1997, Esry became a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics. His current research interests include few-body problems and time-dependent phenomena as well as Bose-Einstein condensates. This fall he will return to Kansas State University as an assistant professor.

Jens Nöckel

Jens U. Nöckel
Max-Planck Institut fur Physik komplexer Systeme, Dresden, Germany
Citation: "For research in the emission properties of assymmetric dielectric resonators with chaotic ray dynamics."

Born and raised on the German island of Helgoland, Nöckel had his first encounters with science through summer jobs at the island's ornithological and marine biology laboratories. He enrolled in physics at Hamburg University in 1986, and spent a year at Oregon State University in Corvallis as a graduate exchange student. He completed his German Diploma degree in Hamburg with a thesis on magnetotransport in semiconductor microsctructures before beginning PhD studies at Yale University in 1992. He initially worked on electronic transport theory before switching the focus of his thesis research to micro-optics in deformed dielectrics, graduating from Yale in 1997. Since then he has been a staff member at the Max-Planck Institut in Dresden, continuing to investigate microresonators.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette