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Robin Santra wins Young Scientist prize

July 20, 2007 00:03 IST

Dr Robin Santra, a physicist at the United States Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, has been selected for the inaugural International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Young Scientist Prize for  Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics.

Since Dr Santra, an assistant physicist at the Chemistry Division's Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Group joined ANL in August 2005, he has collaborated on the discovery of the behavior of certain charged atoms under a strong laser. Most recently, his theoretical work has uncovered possible ways to make ultrafast X-rays, according to ANL.

"I am deeply honored that I have been nominated and selected for the IUPAP Young Scientist Prize," Dr Santra told India Abroad.  

 "Atomic, molecular, and optical [research] is a thriving discipline within physics. I feel privileged that I have been given the opportunity to collaborate with, and learn from, many outstanding scientists in this field."

His contributions to atomic, molecular and optical physics are particularly noteworthy for research with next-generation light sources where an understanding of fundamental light-matter interactions at high intensity and short wavelength is essential, according to Dr Linda Young, the Argonne Distinguished Fellow who nominated him.

`Robin is a rare theorist who can make intimate contact with experiment, producing predictions and insight that actually guide science in a productive fashion,' she said. `He is truly deserving of the award and will bring distinction to it for years to come.'

His areas of research and expertise are in theoretical atomic, molecular, and optical physics and theoretical chemical physics. Among other things, he is currently investigating other ways of influencing X-rays using strong lasers.

The prize consists of a medal, a citation and a cash component, and will be awarded to him during the 25th International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions in Freiburg, Germany, next month.

The IUPAP is a global organisation of physicists intended to assist the worldwide development of physics, foster international cooperation in physics, and help use it to solve problems of concern to humanity. It was established in 1922 in Brussels with 13 member countries; it currently has 46 member countries.

Born in Philadelphia to Indian and German parents, Dr Santra earned his master's with distinction and his PhD summa cum laude from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He has won postdoctoral fellowships from the German Research Foundation as well as the Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University.

He served as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Colorado.

The nation's first national laboratory, ANL conducts basic and applied scientific research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from high-energy physics to climatology and biotechnology.

Since 1990, Argonne has worked with more than 600 companies, numerous federal agencies and other organizations to help advance America's scientific leadership. UChicago Argonne, LLC manages Argonne for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

A Correspondent