Five Penn Researchers Named American Physical Society Fellows

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | | 215-573-6604December 6, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — The American Physical Society has elected five University of Pennsylvania faculty members to its 2011 APS Fellowship class. They are Mark Devlin, Alan “Charlie” Johnson, Joshua Klein, Feng Gai and Howard Hu.

Devlin, Johnson and Klein are members of the School of Arts and Science’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Devlin was nominated by APS’s Division of Astrophysics for his work in millimeter-wave astronomy, which he conducts through a balloon-based telescope known as BLAST, as well as at the Atacama Cosmology Telescope. These observations have contributed data to understanding the early formation of the universe.

Johnson was nominated by the Division of Materials Physics for his studies of single-walled carbon nanotubes. Better understanding of the properties of these extremely strong and conductive nanostructures could lead to revolutions in energy, electronics and many other fields. 

Klein was nominated by the Division of Nuclear Physics for his leadership of the data analysis at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, which showed how neutrinos, subatomic particles at the heart of longstanding questions in fundamental physics, change en route between the sun and the earth. 

Gai, of the School of Arts and Science’s Department of Chemistry was nominated by the Division of Biological Physics for his work in the field of protein folding. By using infrared spectroscopy to measure how parts of a protein vibrate, Gai pioneered a method to better observe how proteins change shape when they assume their functional forms.

Hu, of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, was nominated by the Division of Fluid Dynamics. His work involves simulating particle flow in Newtonian fluids, like water, and non-Newtonian fluids, like ketchup or Silly Putty. The viscosity of non-Newtonian fluids can be altered by applying force, which explains how ketchup can be coaxed out of a bottle by tapping the side, and it has implications in many industrial and biological contexts. 

One of the largest scholarly societies and journal publishers in the field of physics, APS annually recognizes a small percentage of its membership for making lasting contributions in their subfields and specialties with this honor.