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The Valley Prize recognizes an individual in the early stages of his or her career for an outstanding scientific contribution to physics that is deemed to have significant potential for a dramatic impact on the field. To be eligible, a candidate must have received the PhD no earlier than five years before April 1 of the year in which the selection takes place. The $20,000 prize is the largest given by the APS, and is awarded every other year.
"It was a completely unexpected but very pleasant surprise. I was really flattered that they chose me," said Souza, "It's also a good recognition for our field."
Souza was cited "for fundamental advances in the theory of polarization, localization, and electric fields in crystalline insulators." His research contributed to the development of methods for performing first principles calculations of the response of crystalline solids to applied electric fields.
Souza, a citizen of Portugal, earned his undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics in 1995 from Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. He received his PhD in 2000 from the University of Illinois atUrbana-Champaign, where he worked with Richard Martin.
He then did post-doctoral research at Rutgers University in the research group of David Vanderbilt, and in January 2004 he joined the physics faculty at Berkeley.
He is continuing to work on expanding the range of properties that can be studied from first principles. His current research involves modeling the vibrational spectroscopy of nanoclusters and nanoparticles. These calculations can help identify the structure of these particles, he said.The Valley prize will be presented to Souza at the 2005 March meeting. It is funded by a bequest from the estate of the late George E. Valley, Jr. and was first awarded in 2002. More information about the Valley Prize is available on the web.
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