Surajit Sen

State University of New York at Buffalo

Candidate for Vice-Chair

senSurajit Sen is a professor of physics at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a fellow of the APS. He has been on research visits to CalTech, UC San Diego, Duke, Asia-Pacific Centre for Theoretical Physics and Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea, University of Santiago in Chile, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the University of Paris in France and elsewhere. His interests are in nonlinear dynamics and complex systems and in non-equilibrium statistical physics.

Surajit is known for his fundamental contributions to the properties of solitary waves in granular systems, to acoustic land mine detection research, to shock absorption studies of granular materials and to problems in energy harvesting such as from ocean waves. He has published more than 120 refereed papers, holds a US patent, presented more than 110 invited talks in conferences, universities and laboratories and has edited three volumes. Surajit has advised 45 research students across all the levels.  In addition, he maintains a keen interest in teaching science to the rural children of the developing world.

Surajit has been a Secretary (1991-1999), President (2005-2010) and Newsletter editor of the American Chapter of the Indian Physics Association of some 300 strong. He was a co-author with former APS president Andrew Sessler and former Director of International Affairs Irving Lerch of the APS study on the state of technologies for humanitarian land mine detection in 2002-2003. Later, he served as a member of the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (2007-2009) and has been on the selection committee for the APS-Indo-US Travel Grant Program and the Beller and Marshak Lectureship Awards. Since 2001, Surajit has chaired the APS-Kilambi Ramavataram Fund which supports the travel of an Indian college level faculty member for career enhancement in US institutions for up to a year. He was recently invited to speak to the APS Executive Board about the state of physics research in India. Surajit looks forward to the opportunity to expand his service to the APS and the FIP leadership.

Candidate Statement

With nearly 25% of members (excluding students) based outside the US, the Forum on International Physics (FIP) represents the members to the Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA), the Director of International Affairs and to APS as a whole. FIP’s role cuts across the boundaries within physics. I will work closely with my colleagues to continue the tradition of high profile sessions of broad scope and interest to the membership that attends the APS March and April Meetings. I intend to explore ways to make the symposia accessible to the entire membership. In the same vein I will work to organize shared programs with other professional organizations, government entities and non-governmental organizations to maintain the breadth in the outreach efforts.

The internet allows us to sustain nearly worldwide professional linkages and to build encompassing collaborations to meet today’s challenges such as those outlined by the recent National Academy of Sciences report titled, "Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics: The Science of the World Around Us". However, such networks can only be sustained when augmented by direct interactions. I will work to broaden the current portfolio of travel grant programs to meet the needs of the APS and FIP members.

Many developing nations are making unprecedented commitments and progress in science to promote economic development at a time when recession has further strained our existing investments. I will work to develop international student exchange programs with interested countries. Such exchanges are expected to promote long-term linkages between the young scientists in these nations.

The strong need for research institutions with funding and freedom for the individual physicist has been emphasized by the NAS report cited above. As a member of the FIP leadership I will explore possible ways to promote the development of more international institutions such as the ICTP in Trieste. It is only through such ventures that physicists can be openly creative to solve the most vexing challenges that require a "blue sky" atmosphere and work on the application of physics to more immediate problems.