Graduate Student Receives Kennedy Reed Award

UC Riverside’s Michael Maroun was selected to receive the award for a presentation he gave at the American Physical Society California-Nevada annual meeting

Photo shows Michael Maroun

Michael Maroun is a UC Riverside graduate student. Photo credit: M. Maroun.

Michael Maroun at the University of California, Riverside has won the Kennedy Reed Award for Best Theoretical Research by a graduate student.

Presented annually by the American Physical Society’s California-Nevada section, the award is accompanied by a check for $250.

“I did not know that I was in the running for such an honor,” Maroun said. “To be recognized by one’s peers and mentors is, I believe, the highest honor any scientist could hope for.”

Maroun received the award for an oral presentation — “A Metric on the Space of Quantum Fields” — he gave on November 2, 2012, during the American Physical Society California-Nevada annual meeting.  His work is considered to be a first and important step in logically organizing the theory of quantum fields.

“Currently, there is no single all encompassing mathematical foundation for quantum field theory that is robust enough to encapsulate the full variety of natural phenomena,” Maroun explained. “The benefit of such a mathematical foundation is almost limitless, in the sense that it not only stands to elucidate as of yet unknown new physical phenomena but it may also simplify computational procedures in areas of physical theory that are currently too difficult to fully calculate, such as the low-energy sector of nuclear physics that is critical to the understanding of the physics of fusion, for example.”

Maroun joined UCR in 2006 and is working toward a doctoral degree in physics. His field of research is mathematical physics, a field so specialized that even mathematical physicists have yet to agree upon a definition for the field.  His graduate thesis advisor is Michel Lapidus, a professor of mathematics and a cooperating faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Earlier this year, he was selected to attend the 62nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting where he exchanged ideas, discussed projects and networked with several Nobel laureates.  He is the recipient of a Graduate Division Fellowship and a Physics Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award at UCR; and a GAANN Fellowship at the University of Florida at Gainesville where Maroun received his master’s degree in physics.

“My progress could not have been possible without the support of my mentor, Michel Lapidus, and the members of my Ph.D. committee: Dr. Ernest Ma and Dr. Shan-Wen Tsai,” Maroun said. “I also thank the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Umar Mohideen, and the dean of the UCR Graduate Division, Dr. Joseph Childers, for their support.”

The Kennedy Reed Award for Best Theoretical Research is named for Kennedy Reed, a distinguished physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory facility specializing in atomic collisions and high temperature plasmas. He is also renowned, too, for his educational outreach and activism.

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