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Argonne scientist wins first-ever Young Scientist Prize for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics


Robin Santra has been selected as the winner of the first 2007 International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Young Scientist Prize for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics.

Santra is an assistant physicist in the Chemistry Division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. Since his arrival in August 2005, he has collaborated on the discovery, using an X-ray microprobe, of a hole-orbital alignment in atomic ions generated in the focus of a strong laser field. He has also contributed to twelve scientific papers and been published in Physical Review Letters on five different occasions. Most recently, his theoretical work has uncovered electromagnetically induced transparency for X-rays, suggesting a simple switch to produce ultrafast X-rays.

He is currently investigating other ways of influencing X-ray absorption with strong lasers and is also interested in nonlinear X-ray science with free electron lasers.

Linda Young, Argonne Distinguished Fellow, nominated Santra and considers his contributions to atomic, molecular and optical physics to be 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. “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.”

The IUPAP is a global organization of physicists whosemission is to assist in the worldwide development of physics, to foster international cooperation in physics, and to help in its application toward solving problems of concern to humanity.

The prize consists of a medal, a citation and a check and will be awarded to Santra during the XXV International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions ( ICPEAC) in Freiburg, Germany on July 25-31, 2007.

The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory 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 and numerous federal agencies and other organizations to help advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for the future. Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.


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