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Galitski to Receive a Simons Foundation Award

Million dollar grant to be used over 10 years

JQI fellow (*) and University of Maryland physics professor Victor Galitski, has been awarded a Simons Foundation Investigator grant, entailing a million-dollar unrestricted research fund to be used over a ten-year period. The university and its physics department will also receive funds for overhead maintenance.

Prof Galitski’s area of research is theoretical condensed matter physics. One example of his recent work is to show (**) how one can take a conventional semiconductor and endow it with topological properties without subjecting the material to extreme environmental conditions or fundamentally changing its solid state structure (the work appearing online in Nature Physics March 13, 2011).

Another example is his pioneering work, carried out in a series of papers, on the subject of “synthetic spintronics in ultracold atoms,” in particular about how it is that cold atoms interact via synthetic spin-orbit couplings. Along with his JQI colleague Ian Spielman, Galitski reviewed the topic of spin-orbit coupling in quantum gases (Nature, 13 February 2013).

The Simons Foundation is a large, private foundation based in New York City. It provides research grant money in a number of areas, theoretical physics being one of the categories. The Simons awards are sometimes compared in prestige with the MacArthur “genius” awards.

Professor Galitski is the co-author on a recently-translated and published book of problems for students of quantum mechanics. Also Galitski, along with JQI colleague Charles Clark, are just now featured in an online course in quantum science offered worldwide through the company Coursera.

(*)The Joint Quantum Institute is operated jointly by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD and the University of Maryland in College Park.

(**) JQI press release on Floquet Topological Insulators listed below

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