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APS Fellow Receives Award for Multiferroics Research
September 10, 2019 | David Voss
Nicola Spaldin, Professor of Materials Theory at the ETH in Zürich, has been awarded the 2019 Swiss Science Prize by the Marcel Benoist Foundation. Spaldin is an APS Fellow and winner of the 2010 APS James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials, and was named a Lead Editor of the new APS fully open-access journal Physical Review Research in April.
Spaldin was selected for the Swiss Science Prize "for her ground-breaking research in multiferroic materials, with which she has laid the foundations for new ultrafast and energy-efficient data storage technologies."
Multiferroics are materials that can simultaneously exhibit ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity and as a result electric fields can be used to control magnetic behavior. Researchers aim to use these materials in new kinds of spintronic devices and other computer technologies.
At a ceremony on November 7 in Bern, the chair of the Benoist Foundation, Guy Parmelin, will present Spaldin with a prize of CHF250,000 (US$252,300). She is only the second woman to receive the award since its establishment in 1920. The foundation was created by a bequest of Marcel Benoist (1864–1918), a French philanthropist who moved to Switzerland.
Nicola Spaldin received her undergraduate degree in natural sciences from Cambridge University in 1991, and her PhD in chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1996, followed by postdoctoral research in applied physics at Yale University. She was a professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara from 1997 to 2010. In 2011, she moved to the ETH Zürich, where she has been working as Professor of Materials Theory. She has received numerous awards in teaching and research, including a Miller Institute Professorship, an NSF American Competitiveness and Innovation Fellowship, the Körber European Science Prize in 2015, and the L’Oreal/Unesco Award for Women in Science in 2017.