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Physics and Astronomy Faculty Named APS Fellows, Win Physics Innovation Award

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Three faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences have been honored by the American Physical Society — two elected APS Fellows and one winning a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Fundamental Physics Innovation Award.

Jacobus Verbaarschot, former graduate program director and professor of physics, and Thomas Hemmick, distinguished teaching professor, were elected Fellows of the American Physical Society, a distinct honor signifying recognition by one’s professional peers for outstanding contributions to physics.

Jacobus Verbaarschot

Verbaarschot was recognized “for the development of random-matrix theory methods and their applications in atomic nuclei and in nonperturbative quantum chromodynamics.” Hemmick was honored “for leadership and innovation in developing new detector technologies for nuclear and particle physics, for teaching and mentoring new generations of physics students, and for important scientific contributions to the field of heavy ion physics.”

“I am delighted that Professors Hemmick and Verbaarschot are recognized with this distinct honor by the American Physical Society, which is made to no more than one-half of one percent of the Society’s membership each year,” said Chang Kee Jung, SUNY distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.It signifies their outstanding contributions to the advances in science and their distinguished career. It also reflects the strength of the nuclear physics program at Stony Brook that is one of the top-ranked programs in the nation.”

Verbaarschot is a theoretical physicist interested in non-perturbative effects in Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory such as correlations of quantum spectra, classical solutions of non-linear field theories, the spontaneous breaking of chiral symmetry, QCD at nonzero baryon density.

Verbaarschot has been particularly fascinated by the interplay between chaos and symmetry in quantum systems. He believes that a full understanding of a problem in mathematical physics requires a synergy between analytical and numerical methods, which is reflected in many of his more than 150 research articles. A significant portion of his publications has been devoted to analysis of mathematical problems in Random Matrix Theory.

Thomas Hemmick

Hemmick is a professor of experimental nuclear physics whose research involves the study of collisions of heavy ions at high energies. He is a member of the PHENIX experiment at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) RHIC accelerator, and he works on both the Ring-Imaging Cherenkov Detector or ‘RICH’ and on the PHENIX Drift Chambers, which are part of the PHENIX Tracking system.

Hemmick is also a member of the research community that is working to develop detector technologies for the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), a next-generation nuclear physics facility in the planning stages at BNL.

Ross Corliss, a research assistant professor, was one of 10 winners of APS Fundamental Physics Innovation Awards, earning a Convening Award.

Ross Corliss

Corliss explained: “Our upcoming workshop, ‘Scientific Opportunities at the Intensity Frontier: Physics with 10-100 MeV Beams,’ will bring together an international community to explore how new, high luminosity, medium energy accelerators like TRIUMF’s ARIEL facility can help explore open, statistics-hungry physics questions. These questions cover a wide range of interests, from rare processes, to precision SM tests, to searches for dark matter and other beyond-the-standard-model physics.”

The innovation awards are funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and have been given over the last three years to stimulate ideas on innovative ways in which emerging technologies can be used to address pressing problems in fundamental physics beyond the Standard Model by bringing people together to collaborate on ideas and explore new cost-effective approaches.

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