APS News

First Morehouse Physics Prize Goes to Byron Freelon

APS member Byron Freelon has been awarded the first Morehouse Physics Prize, which recognizes graduates of historically black colleges and universities who have shown considerable promise as physics researchers and teachers. The prize includes a cash award and a travel grant to give a colloquium at Morehouse College.

The National Society of Black Physicists established the Morehouse Physics Prize through a financial gift by Walter and Shirley Massey. Walter Massey is the president of Morehouse College.
Freelon accepted the award at Morehouse College on April 5 and gave a talk entitled “Probing High-Temperature Superconductors with Layers and Light.”

Freelon attended Prairie View A&M University in Texas, and received a PhD in physics from the University of Minnesota in 2001. He worked as a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he developed a beamline-based molecular beam epitaxy system at the Advanced Light Source. Freelon is now a research scientist at the University of California Berkeley in the group of UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. Freelon is interested in various synchrotron techniques to study high-temperature superconductors and soft-matter systems. In addition to synchrotron techniques, he is working on inelastic neutron scattering. Freelon is also leading an international collaboration to develop a pulsed-laser deposition facility at the Advanced Light Source synchrotron. He is a member of the APS committee on careers.

“I attempt to dedicate every day to doing physics and thinking about the status of blacks who do physics. It is deeply meaningful to be honored by an organization dedicated to these same concerns,” said Freelon. 

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff