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Prodan Wins NSF Grant

Portrait of Dr. Emil ProdanDr. Emil Prodan, professor of physics, has been awarded a three-year grant of $387,000 from the Condensed Matter and Materials Theory Program of the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his project in materials science titled “Aperiodic Topological Materials and Meta-Materials.”

“The research is very fundamental,” said Dr. Prodan, “because it involves looking for extraordinary behaviors of ordinary matter in a quest to open new horizons in materials science.” What also makes this research distinctive is that “these extraordinary behaviors are brought to light not by using expensive materials but rather by using mathematics, which enables us to see beyond the obvious and to explore extremely complex materials landscapes.”

What he has learned more and more in his research is that “nothing we interact with in our physical world is too difficult or too complex. When that appears to be so, it is because we did not find the correct framework to analyze things. As such, our research was and will always be about finding that framework which minimizes the obstacles ahead. That might require reading a new book every two weeks, but what a joy when things finally click!”

The award also supports graduate student training to become the future experts in applied Non-Commutative Geometry, currently a rare ability in theoretical condensed matter and materials physics. It will also support lectures, pedagogical reviews and textbooks prepared as an effort to disseminate Dr. Prodan’s ideas among theoretical as well as experimental members of the condensed matter physics community.

Those would who like a more formal explanation of the project can find both a non-technical and technical discussion on the NSF website.