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Two Northwestern professors honored with physics award

Stavros Agorakis, Reporter

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Weinberg physics Profs. William Halperin and James Sauls have been awarded the international Fritz London Memorial Prize, which recognizes scientific contributions made in the field of low-temperature physics.

Halperin, the Orrington Lunt Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Sauls were honored for their work on the influence of disorder on the superfluidity of helium-3, a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium that is rare on Earth. They share their prize with Jeevak Parpia of Cornell University.

Michael Schmitt, chair of Weinberg College’s department of physics and astronomy, said in a news release that Halperin and Sauls are “pillars of the department.”

“It makes us extremely proud to see their work recognized with the Fritz London Memorial Prize,” Schmitt said in the release. “This special distinction is well deserved and reflects well on them, the department and Northwestern.”

Halperin, an experimentalist, partly centered his research on liquid helium-3 and superconductivity, while Sauls, a theorist, stemmed his work off of the properties of condensed matter. Low-temperature physics, or cryogenics, studies the behavior of materials at very low temperatures, not far from absolute zero.

Halperin has also been the recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, which supports early-career researchers in eight scientific fields, and the American Physical Society Fellowship, which recognizes exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise.

The London Prize is awarded every three years, and eleven past winners have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics.

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Twitter: @stavrosagorakis