Jefferson Lab Physicists Elevated to Prestigious Spot (Daily Press)

Jefferson Lab Physicists Elevated to Prestigious Spot

Five physicists at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility have been elected fellows by the American Physical Society, a professional award that places them among the top 1 percent of physicists in the country.

A sixth physicist at the lab has received an award that honors minority scientists.

"If you are a fellow, that means you have achieved the highest honor you could ever get in the field," said Swapan Chattopadhyay, associate director for accelerators at the lab.

The selections represent less than 1 percent of the total APS membership each year. This year, the five staffers are among 190 new fellows. The 42,000-member society has a little more than 5,000 fellows total.

The awards double the number of fellows at the lab to about a dozen. For the individual scientists, the recognition could mean gaining top positions as well as being called on by other agencies and organizations for their expertise, Chattopadhyay said.

Recognized were Kees de Jager, Fred Dylla, Geoff Krafft, Bernhard Mecking and George Neil.

According to the association, the fellowship program recognizes members who have made significant and innovative contributions in physics or in teaching it.

Keith Baker has made his mark in those areas as well. Baker received the society's Edward A. Bouchet Award, which honors minority physicists for innovative research. Baker was selected for his research but also for creating ways to conduct complex measurements and for being active in local and national outreach programs.

"Keith is one of the brightest researchers we have from the laboratory program," said Lawrence Cardman, associate director for physics at the lab.

Baker, dean of science at Hampton University who has a joint appointment at the lab, has brought much success to the college as well.

He was crucial in getting Hampton University involved in the international ATLAS effort, which hopes to build the most powerful accelerator in the world in Switzerland.

Baker also was key in helping get HU designated as a Physics Frontiers Center, one of four universities deemed to be on the cutting edge of physic research.

The award includes a stipend of $3,500 plus support for travel to at least three academic institutions. Baker will give lectures to attract more minority students into the career.