APS News

November 2008 (Volume 17, Number 10)

MGM Recipients Achieve MacArthur Trifecta

Andrea Ghez, an astrophysicist at UCLA who received the APS Maria Goeppert Mayer (MGM) Award in 1999, is among the recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship for 2008. This year’s MacArthur fellows were announced in September.

The MacArthur fellowships, commonly called “genius grants,” give recipients $500,000 with no restrictions on how the money is spent. Recipients come from a range of disciplines, including art, science, social science, education, business, medicine, and many others. This year there are several physicists among the recipients. MacArthur fellows are chosen for their creativity, originality, and promise for important future advances based on a record of accomplishment.

The MGM award is intended to recognize and enhance outstanding achievement by a woman physicist in the early years of her career, not later than ten years after the granting of the PhD degree. It recognizes scientific achievements that demonstrate potential as an outstanding physicist.

Ghez uses ground‑based telescopic techniques to identify thousands of new star systems and illuminate the role of super‑massive black holes in the evolution of galaxies. She is the third MGM award recipient to go on to win a MacArthur grant. The others are Deborah Jin and Margaret Murnane. Jin, of JILA (an institute of the University of Colorado), researches novel quantum systems including degenerate Fermi gases, and Murnane, also now of JILA, works in experimental ultrafast optical physics. Jin won the MGM award in 2002; Murnane won the MGM award in 1997.

Other MGM award recipients have gone on to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences and win many other honors.

The MGM award is given to early career physicists who demonstrate potential, noted Sue Otwell, APS women’s programs administrator. The fact that so many of these women have become extremely successful physicists is a sign of promise fulfilled, she said. 

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Science Writing Intern: Nadia Ramlagan

November 2008 (Volume 17, Number 10)

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Articles in this Issue
Public Affairs Report Examines Nuclear Weapons Policy
LaserFest to Celebrate 50 Years of Laser Innovation
2008 Nobel Prize Goes to Nambu, Kobayashi and Maskawa for Work on Broken Symmetries
APS Awards First Industrial Physics Prize to Philip J. Wyatt
Bringing a Sun to Earth: Briefing Explains ITER Fusion Experiment
Board Passes New Policies on Unit Newsletters, Committee Funding Requests
Meeting Briefs
Mass Media Fellows Describe Their Experiences
Noyce Scholarships to Aid Selected Physics Teachers
MGM Recipients Achieve MacArthur Trifecta
Physics Bachelor's and PhDs Continue to Trend Upward
Inside the Beltway
The Back Page
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science