Associate professor Nadya Mason and assistant professor Mark Neubauer will be presented with the College of Engineering’s prestigious 2013 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research this evening, in recognition of their outstanding research contributions.
Department Head and Professor Dale Van Harlingen
said both recipients are more than deserving of the recognition.
"Nadya has greatly distinguished herself as a leading-edge experimentalist in complex materials, superconductivity, and nanotechnology. In true Urbana style, she maintains a close rapport with theorists to make swift headway on some of the most persistent unsolved problems in transport in low-dimensional systems at the quantum limit.
"Mark equally exemplifies our highest standards of scholarship, creativity, and leadership. He is a talented high-energy experimentalist who has made singular contributions to the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, participating last July in the big announcement of compelling evidence for the discovery of a Higgs boson. With his extraordinary experimental skills and vision and his remarkable productivity, Mark is making trailblazing contributions to experimental high-energy physics and to petascale distributed computing here at Illinois and internationally.”
Mason is a member of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory. Mason’s voluminous list of publications in peer-reviewed journals attests to her seminal research contributions to experimental condensed matter physics and has established her as an international leader in the physics and electronic properties of carbon nanotubes, graphene, and topological insulators. Because of the low dimensionality of these systems, they often display novel electronic properties and hold promise for applications in superconductivity and quantum computing. Mason’s work has direct bearing on our understanding of electronic transport in these materials which is essential for the design of nanoscale circuit elements, an emerging area of study.
Mason has received numerous awards for her work, including the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award of the American Physical Society (2012), the Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award of the Anita Borg Institute (2009), a Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship (2008/09), a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2007), and her appointment as a Center for Advanced Study Fellow (2011/12) at the University of Illinois. She was one of 122 young scientists to take part in the National Academy of Sciences' U.S. and Chinese-American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposia (2011).
Mason received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University in 1995 and her Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 2001. She then returned to Harvard for a postdoctoral fellowship and was in short order elected to the Harvard Society of Fellows. She joined the Physics Illinois faculty in 2005. She is currently serving as the Chair of the Facilities Committee for MRL and as as one of the theme leaders for the DOE Basic Energy Sciences cluster on quantum materials and nanoarchitectures.
Mason said she is very honored to win this recognition from the physics department and the college: “I feel lucky to be working on topics that are interesting and fun to think about. And most importantly, I’m grateful to my students for their hard work, and also to my great collaborators in the college and the department.”
Neubauer is an experimental physicist whose research spans diverse topics in the study of elementary particles and their interactions, with his primary focus centered on the search for the Higgs boson.
As a member of the ATLAS collaboration at LHC, Neubauer played a leadership role in the design and implementation of a fast track-finder upgrade of the ATLAS trigger, the instrument that detects and records events of physics interest within the project’s multi-petabyte data stream. Through his collaboration with colleagues at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), Neubauer was also instrumental in establishing data acquisition systems within the project’s distributed computing environment and was a major player in the University of Illinois’ becoming the first US university to become a Tier-3 data analysis center for ATLAS.
Recently, Neubauer built the first prototype of a fully grid-capable computing cluster, a powerful tool for big-data high-energy physics nationally and internationally.
Last year, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Chicago and Indiana University, Neubauer helped to create a Tier-2 Midwest Center for ATLAS.
Neubauer is the recipient of several honors, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2011), an appointment as a Center for Advanced Study Fellow (2012/13) and as an NCSA Faculty Fellow (2008/09), and an Arnold O. Beckman Research Award (2007).
Neubauer received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Kutztown University in 1994, and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. He went on to work as a postdoctoral research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001, and then at the University of California, San Diego in 2004. Neubauer joined the Physics Illinois faculty in 2007.
"This past year has been the most exciting time that I have encountered in particle physics research,” commented Neubauer. “The discovery of a Higgs boson and measurement of its properties is one of the great achievements of human scientific inquiry. To play a role in this achievement and receive the Dean's Research Award from the College for my research in this area are great honors for me. As is often the case with important scientific discoveries, this one answers some long-standing questions but also raises many new ones. It will be an exciting time over the next decade to study the properties of this newly discovered particle in detail and search for other new phenomena."
The awards will be presented this evening at the Engineering Faculty Awards ceremony, starting at 6 o’clock in the NCSA Auditorium.