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Renowned Nuclear Physicist and Stony Brook Professor Named AAAS Fellow


STONY BROOK, NY, January 26, 2022 – Abhay Deshpande, PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for the year 2021. The AAAS bestows this honor annually to members whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science, or its applications, are scientifically or socially distinguished.” Deshpande and other 2021 Fellows will be honored during the AAAS annual meeting (virtual) on February 19, 2022.

Deshpande, a nuclear physics expert and professor at Stony Brook since 2004, who also holds a joint appointment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory as Director of Electron-Collider Ion Science, was named a Fellow by the AAAS “For key contributions to the determination of the spin composition of the nucleon, and for leadership in the development of the science program of the Electron Ion Collider.”

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Abhay Deshpande, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Throughout his career, Deshpande has served both the U.S. and international scientific communities. In earlier work as a key member of the ZEUS Collaboration at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Germany and the Spin Muon Collaboration at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory, he made crucially important contributions to measurements of nucleon structure functions and to determining quarks’ contribution to nucleon spin.

In addition to conducting research as part of these large international collaborations, Deshpande has made significant contributions to the accelerator and detector hardware that makes such research possible. As one example, he helped develop the polarimeters needed to measure the spin polarization of protons at RHIC. Deshpande also plays an important role connecting experimental nuclear physicists with theorists and promoting a fruitful collaboration among these two communities.

“I am happy and honored to be elected an AAAS Fellow,” said Deshpande. “I have been most fortunate to have some of the best students, postdocs, and colleagues at Stony Brook and Brookhaven Lab, as well as many collaborators around the world, without whom this honor would not be possible.”

Deshpande has been a long-time collaborator on nuclear physics research at Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), including using the unique capabilities of this DOE Office of Science user facility to unravel how particles called quarks and gluons contribute to the intrinsic angular momentum, or spin, of protons. (Protons and neutrons together are known as nucleons, the building blocks of atomic nuclei.) Deshpande’s research specifically helped determine the gluon contribution to proton spin from measurements taken using the PHENIX detector during collisions of polarized proton beams at RHIC.

Since 2016, he extended his research activities to experiments at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory (JLab) in Newport News, VA, where he is also involved in precision electroweak physics.

In addition to his prolific research, Deshpande remains consummate teacher. In 2021 he was promoted to a SUNY Distinguished Professorship—the highest rank offered selectively amongst the SUNY faculty.  He became a RIKEN Fellow in 2004 and serving as a full Professor at Brookhaven Lab since 2013.

Deshpande currently leads the Center for Frontiers in Nuclear Science (CFNS), a joint initiative launched by Stony Brook University and Brookhaven Lab in 2017 with financial support from the Simons Foundation. Throughout these years, he has invested his considerable talents in educating the next generation of physicists.

Many of his former students now play important roles at RHIC, Jefferson Laboratory and other physics research facilities. He has lectured at schools all around the world, helping to inspire and attract a diverse group of young people to pursue careers in science. Deshpande’s educational and outreach efforts extend to a broader community as he holds lectures and discussions for the general public and high-school students.

Deshpande earned his B.S. in physics from the University of Bombay in 1985, followed by a M.S from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1987, and a Ph.D. in experimental high energy physics from Yale University in 1995. He has authored more than 400 scientific publications, given more than 500 talks, and received an array of honors and awards, including fellowship in the American Physical Society (2014), the RIKEN (Japan) President’s Special Prize for the Study of Nucleon Spin (2015), and the State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research & Innovation (2018).

To view a full list of the 2021 AAAS Fellows, see this link.

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  • Congrats Abhay!
    I have the previledge of saying that you were my student in undergaduat classes, and I taught you the initial lessons in physics. I still remember you as a very lively, enthusiastic and extremely intelligent student. Happy that you are scaling great heights.
    Prof. Sudhir Panse.

    • Dear Prof. Panse,

      Delighted to get this comment on the announcement. Means the world to me. Hope you are doing well. I look forward to meeting you in summer when I plan to be in India.

      Best, Abhay

  • Congrats to Dr Abhay Deshpande for this honor. I also congratulate his team for their efforts in advancement of Science.