Oct 6, 2003
Faces and Places (page 2)
Royal Society elections recognize research in particles and waves
Research in particle physics and gravitational waves has been recognized in the 2003 elections to the Royal Society. Valentine Telegdi, who is professor of physics at the Eidgenössiche Technische Hochshule, Zurich, has been elected as a foreign member. The Royal Society's citation observes that Telegdi has measured every property of the muon, namely: parity violation in the π → μ → e decay chain; the muon mass; the positron spectrum from polarized µ-decay; µ-capture rates; the muon-neutrino helicity; and the RF spectroscopy of muonium, and all were done with great simplicity and elegance. His study, with a group from Argonne, of the asymmetries in polarized neutron decay is described as perhaps "his most informative work yet, directly yielding the structure of the ß-decay coupling".
Peter Dornan, head of high-energy physics research at Imperial College, London, and James Hough, director of the Institute for Gravitational Wave Research at the University of Glasgow, have both been elected members of the Royal Society. Dornan is recognized for his role in suggesting the possibility of searching for charm decays using the SLAC rapid cycling bubble chamber and initiating an imaginative scheme to provide the necessary trigger. He later led the Imperial College group into the ALEPH collaboration at CERN, developing the experiment's very precise inner tracking chamber in order to study heavy flavour physics. Hough, for his part, has brought the UK to the forefront of research in the detection of gravitational waves, with the development of innovative and practical laboratory techniques. Aspects of these techniques have been successfully transferred to other fields and to industry.
Turbulence pioneers Kraichnan and Zakharov awarded 2003 Dirac Medal
Robert H Kraichnan and Vladimir E Zakharov, two pioneer physicists in the field of turbulence, have been awarded the 2003 Dirac Medal of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics.
Robert Kraichnan, who was one of Albert Einstein's last assistants at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, has had a long career as a consultant in a variety of governmental organizations and private firms, including MIT, the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy. He has conducted pioneering research on field-theoretic approaches to turbulence and other non-equilibrium systems. Most noteworthy are his insights into the inverse cascade for two-dimensional turbulence.
Vladimir Zakharov, who is director and professor of physics at the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in Moscow, is an expert in the mathematical physics of nonlinear phenomena. Zakharov's work has proven to be instrumental to our basic understanding of plasma physics, hydrodynamics, magnetism and optics, in particular contributing to a deep understanding of weak wave turbulence.
Prague honours theory and experiment
Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Guenakh Mitselmakher of the University of Florida have been awarded commemorative medals from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University in Prague. Wilczek received his medal as "one of the world's most outstanding theoretical physicists", for work including the discovery of "asymptotic freedom" and other results of fundamental importance.
The award for Mitselmakher acknowledges his achievements as one of the "world's leading experimental particle physicists". The citation mentions his contributions to experiments at particle colliders as well as his integrating role in international research, including contributions to co-operation between the Charles University and major research centres.