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2020 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Myriam P. Sarachik

Winner of APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Selected

August 9, 2019 | David Voss

Physicist Myriam P. Sarachik has been selected to receive the 2020 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research for her "fundamental contributions to the physics of electronic transport in solids and molecular magnetism.”

An APS Fellow, Sarachik is Distinguished Professor of Physics at City College of New York. She was President of APS in 2003 and received the APS Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize in 2005.

"Myriam Sarachik has been one of the world’s leading experimental condensed matter physicists for over a half-century," said APS President-Elect Philip Bucksbaum, chair of the selection committee. "Her outstanding contributions helped to shape our modern view of many collective effects in solids, including the Kondo effect, heavy fermion physics, disordered 2-D systems, and strongly-correlated electron systems. I am very pleased that she will receive the APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research. I’m especially pleased that this honor goes to someone who has also been so active in promoting the core values of APS. Not only is Myriam a past President of the Society; she is also well-known for her efforts to defend human rights and the principles of diversity and inclusion in physics."

Myriam Sarachik

The Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research is the largest APS prize to recognize researchers from all fields of physics and is funded by a donation from entrepreneur Jay Jones. Previous recipients were Edward Witten (2016), Daniel Kleppner (2017), Eugene Parker (2018), and Bertrand Halperin (2019).

"I'm so pleased that Myriam has been selected for the APS Medal, which is our highest honor," said Kate Kirby, APS CEO. "Her research has been at the frontiers of condensed matter physics and her life of service to the physics community is an example for physicists everywhere."

Sarachik earned her B.A. degree (cum laude) from Barnard College in 1954, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1957 and 1960 from Columbia University. Following research associate positions at IBM Watson Laboratories at Columbia University (1961-1962) and at Bell Laboratories (1962-1964), she joined the faculty of City College of the City University of New York as an Assistant Professor of Physics, and was promoted through the ranks to Distinguished Professor in 1995.

In addition to her research, Sarachik has served as a member (and chair) of the Solid State Sciences Committee of the National Research Council, the Human Rights Committee of the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Board of the Committee of Concerned Scientists.

An experimentalist in low-temperature research, Sarachik has investigated superconductors, disordered metallic alloys, metal-insulator transitions in doped semiconductors, hopping transport in solids, strongly interacting electrons in two dimensions, and spin tunneling in nanomagnets.

She received the 1995 New York City Mayor's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology and a 2004 Sloan Public Service Award from the Fund for the City of New York. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by Amherst College in 2006.

"I am absolutely elated to receive this award from APS," said Sarachik. “As one of the very few women physicists when I was young, I fought hard to enter and to stay in the field. Little did I dream that I would become President of the APS (in 2003) leading and shaping policy for the society and traveling throughout the world to represent American physics, or that I would win this incredibly prestigious prize now. The message to my young colleagues is that, with strong commitment and hard work, they too can exceed their own expectations.”

The formal award will be made at a ceremony in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2020. In addition, Sarachik is invited to give a presentation on her work at the 2020 APS March Meeting in Denver (March 2-6). The Medal is accompanied by a prize of $50,000.

For more on the award visit the APS Medal page. For more about Myriam Sarachik's life and work, see "Pushing Boundaries: My Personal and Scientific Journey," Annual Reviews of Condensed Matter Physics, vol. 9, p. 1 (March 2018), doi: 10.1146/annurev-conmatphys-033117-054029.

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