Sankar Das Sarma Named Highly Cited Researcher

Sankar Das Sarma has again been included on Clarivate Analytics list of Highly Cited Researchers, a compilation of influential names in science.

Das Sarma is the Richard E. Prange Chair of Physics, the Director of the Condensed Matter Theory Center and a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute

After receiving his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1979—studying under UMD alumnusSankar Das SarmaSankar Das Sarma John Quinn (Ph.D., '58)—Das Sarma joined the UMD faculty in 1982. He was named a Distinguished University Professor in 1995, and in 2008 received the Kirwan Faculty Research Prize for his groundbreaking work in topological quantum computing.

In 2013, Das Sarma received the CMNS Distinguished Faculty Award in recognition of his stellar career. In 2020, a paper he co-wrote was included in Physical Review B's list of the "milestone" papers published in its first 50 years of existence. 

Das Sarma has been included in all previous listings of highly-cited researchers: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2001.

College Park Professor Chris Monroe also appeared on the list.

Jim Glanz to Give Milchberg Lecture on Nov. 16

Jim Glanz, a New York Times reporter who holds a Ph.D. in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton University, will give the second Irving and Renee Milchberg Endowed Lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. in room 1412 of the Toll Physics Building. His talk, The Public Relations Machine in Science: A Self-Inflicted Wound?  is free and open to the public, with refreshments served at 3:30 p.m. 

Glanz' writing career began at Research and Development, before he moved to Science magazine in 1995. In 1998, he broke the story of the discovery of dark energy and the accelerating expansion of the universe, describing the findings of Adam Riess, Brian Schmidt and Saul Perlmutter, who were awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics for this work.Jim GlanzJim Glanz

Glanz joined the New York Times in 1999 as a science reporter.  After the September 11, 2001 attacks, he wrote extensively on the design, construction and collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers. He received the Excellence in Journalism Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2002. Pieces he wrote with fellow Times reporter Eric Lipton about the towers were part of the "Nation Challenged" package that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2002.

Now a reporter on the Investigations desk, he helps untangle and explain a wide range of natural and technological complexities, such as the splitting of an Italian bridge that killed 43 people, the collapse of a Mexico City Metro overpass that killed 26, various aspects of COVID mutations and transmission, design decisions on the ill-fated Boeing 737 Max, and the dispersal of hundreds of tons of lead over Paris when Notre Dame Cathedral burned. 

The Irving and Renee Milchberg Endowed Lectureship was established by Prof. Howard Milchberg and his wife Rena, to remember Howard's parents, who survived the Holocaust and the distortions of truth that accompanied and facilitated it.  Milchberg’s mother and father, who died in 2017 and 2014, respectively, never received formal education, but Milchberg describes them as “remarkably open-minded and tolerant” and as “wide-ranging thinkers and skeptics.” 

This is the second Milchberg lecture; the first lecture was given in 2019 by Susan Eisenhower.  

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Nicholas Chant, 1941-2021

Nick Chant, a nuclear physicist at UMD for 35 years, died earlier this month in Minnesota, where he moved after his 2007 retirement.

A native of England, Chant attended Downing College Cambridge for his B.A. and M.A., and earned his D.Phil. at Lincoln College Oxford in 1966. 

He then accepted an appointment as a Research Fellow in the Nuclear Physics Lab in Oxford. In 1968, he moved to the University of Washington, followed by two years at the University of Minnesota, before joining UMD in 1972 as an assistant professor. In this department, he held several key roles, serving as Associate Chair for Facilities and Personnel as well as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. 

Chant researched electro-weak studies of the nucleon, quasi-free knockout reactions using strongly interactng projectiles, and spin dependence in direct nuclear reactions.  He was the author of a program for computing knockout, transfer, and other reactions, and assisted researchers in many other laboratories to interpret similar reactions by teaching them to use the program or by adding features tailored to their needs.

While serving as Associate Chair for Graduate Education, Chant overhauled admission procedures and was an active advisor of first and second year graduate students.  In 2007, he received the department's George A. Snow Award, which recognizes an individual who helps to advance the representation of women in the field of physics.

A memorial has not yet been scheduled. 






Kane to Give Prange Prize Lecture on Oct. 26

Charles L. Kane of the University of Pennsylvania has been named the recipient of the Richard E. Prange Prize and Lectureship in Condensed Matter Theory and Related Areas. Kane will give his lecture, "The Emergence of Topological Quantum Matter," on Tues., Oct. 26 at 4 p.m. in room 1412 of the John S. Toll Physics Building. Refreshments will be served at 3:30 p.m. Charles Kane (image credit: UPenn)Charles Kane (image credit: UPenn)

Kane will also give a seminar entitled “Quantized Nonlinear Response in Ballistic Metals” on Monday, October 25 at 11 a.m. That talk will be simulcast world-wide on the Joint Quantum Institute YouTube channel,, which supports audience participation in the chat interface.

The Prange Prize, established by the UMD Department of Physics and Condensed Matter Theory Center (CMTC), honors the late Professor Richard E. Prange, whose distinguished professorial career at Maryland spanned four decades (1961-2000). The Prange Prize is made possible by a gift from Dr. Prange's wife, Dr. Madeleine Joullié, a professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kane's groundbreaking work on topological insulators—materials with a special kind of electrical conduction on their surface—has initiated a new field in condensed matter physics and garnered external recognition at the highest levels. He has received numerous awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute, the Dirac Prize of the International Center for Theoretical Physics, the Oliver Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society and the Physics Frontiers Prize of the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Richard E. PrangeRichard E. PrangeAt the University of Chicago, Richard Prange received his Ph.D. under Nobelist Yoichiro Nambu and also worked with Murray Gell-Mann and Marvin Goldberger. At the University of Maryland, he edited a highly-respected book on the quantum Hall effect and made important theoretical contributions to the subject. His interests extended into all aspects of theoretical physics, and continued after his retirement. Dr. Prange was a member of the Maryland condensed matter theory group for more than 40 years and was an affiliate of CMTC since its inception in 2002.

"Richard enjoyed a fascinating and fulfilling career at the University of Maryland exploring condensed matter physics, and even after retirement was active in the department," said Dr. Joullié. "He spent the very last afternoon of his life in the lecture hall for a colloquium on graphene, followed by a vigorous discussion. And so I was happy to institute the Prange Prize, to generate its own robust discussions in condensed matter theory."

"The Prange Prize provides a unique opportunity to acknowledge transformative work in condensed matter theory, a field that has proven to be an inexhaustible source of insights and discoveries in both fundamental and applied physics,” said Dr. Sankar Das Sarma, who holds the Richard E. Prange Chair in Physics at UMD and is also a Distinguished University Professor and director of the CMTC.

Since its initiation in 2009, the Prange Prize has been awarded to Philip W. Anderson, Walter Kohn, Daniel Tsui, Andre Geim, David Gross, Klaus von Klitzing, Frank Wilczek and Juan Maldacena.


UMD Physicists Elected APS Fellows

Kaustubh Agashe, Mohammad Hafezi and Arpita Upadhyaya have been elected Fellows of the American Physical Society.

Agashe, who was cited for pioneering breakthroughs in holographic composite Higgs theory and phenomenology, and for inspiring numerous related experimentKaustubh AgasheKaustubh Agasheal searches at the Large Hadron Collider, is a member of the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 1998. After postdoctoral appointments at the University of Oregon, Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Advanced Study, he joined the physics faculty at Syracuse University in 2005. He moved to UMD Physics in 2007. In 2017, he was named a Fermilab Distinguished Scholar.  

Hafezi was cited for pioneering theoretical and experimental work in topological photonics and quantum synthetic matter. Hafezi is a Minta Martin Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute and a member of the Institute for Research in Electronics & Applied Physics and the Quantum Technology Center. Hafezi's research aims to theoretically and experimentally investigate various quantum Mohammad Hafezi Mohammad Hafezi properties of light-matter interaction for applications in future optoelectronic devices, quantum information processing, and sensing. He earned his Ph.D. in 2009 from Harvard University, and then accepted a position in the JQI. He received a Sloan Research Fellowship and Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award in 2015, and in 2020 was named a Simons Investigator. 

Upadhyaya was selected for contributions to understanding mechanisms of biological force generation and how these forces enable immune cells to respond to the physical properties of their environment, bearing insights into the complex and biomedically crucial mechanisms of T cell and B cell activation.  Upadhyaya is a biophysicist studying how physical properties of living cells are regulated to guide mechanical behaviors such as cell shapeArpita UpadhyayaArpita Upadhyaya changes and force generation and how these guide physical regulation of cell function. She has received a Pappalardo Fellowship in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and the UMD Physics Richard A. Ferrell Distinguished Faculty Fellowship. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame, and in addition to her work at MIT, was a researcher at UNC Chapel Hill before joining UMD Physics and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) in 2006. She serves as co-director of the IPST Biophysics Program.

Also elected APS Fellows were Marc Swisdak of IREAP and YuHuang Wang of the Department of Chemistry.