I have heard it stated by renowned scientists, for example Stephen Hawking, that the macroscopic world is completely deterministic from a theoretical if not practical perspective, while the quantum realm is probabilistic. My question concerns the interaction of atomic radiation with the macroscopic world. The emission of a particle from a particular nucleus at a particular time is, as I understand it, purely probabilistic. If that particle hits a DNA molecule and causes a mutation resulting in cancer how can that cancer be said to be theoretically deterministic?
By Celia Elliott
September 28, 2011
The American Physical Society announced on Tuesday that Nadya Mason, assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will receive the Society’s 2012 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award.
“Nadya is a remarkable young experimentalist who works at the intersection of complex materials, superconductivity, and nanotechnology,” said Dale J. Van Harlingen, head of the Department of Physics at Illinois. “She has superb technical skills and excellent taste in selecting important and timely problems and has already made pioneering contributions to the physics and electronic properties of carbon nanotubes and transport in low-dimensional systems at the quantum limit.”
Mason received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University in 1995 and her doctorate in physics from Stanford University in 2001. She returned to Harvard for postdoctoral training, where she was elected junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. She joined the faculty at Illinois in 2005.
Her achievements have previously been recognized by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2007), a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship (2008), the Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award of the Anita Borg Institute (2009), and a fellowship in the UI Center for Advanced Study (2011).
The Maria Goeppert Mayer Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a woman physicist in the early years of her career. In addition to a cash prize, the Award provides travel support for the recipient to present a series of public lectures in the spirit of Maria Goeppert Mayer, recipient of the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics for her development of a mathematical model describing the nuclear shell structure of the atomic nucleus. Goeppert Mayer was the second woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, after Marie Curie.
Mason will receive her award at a special session of the American Physical Society’s annual meeting in Boston in March 2012.
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