Texas A&M Physicist Earns Prestigious Humboldt Research Award

Dr. Alexander M. Finkelstein, professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University, has been elected as a 2012 recipient of the prestigious Humboldt Research Award by Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in honor of his lifetime achievements in research.

Each year the Humboldt Foundation invites a select number of internationally renowned academics to spend up to one year cooperating on long-term research projects with specialist colleagues in Germany in an effort to further promote international scientific collaboration. Academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and beyond and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge academic achievements in the future are eligible for nomination. Finkelstein was nominated for the award by the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT).

Finkelstein, described as one of the world’s most distinguished condensed matter theorists and a giant in his field, is the inventor of the “Finkel’stein model,” which has played a significant role in understanding metal-insulator transitions and superconductivity. His internationally renowned research focuses on the microscopic analysis of various systems in which electronic interactions play a crucial role, including disordered and low-dimensional systems, superconductors and quantum magnets, as well as nanostructures with a spin-orbit interaction. Such nanostructures can be used in spintronics, one of the most rapidly developing sub-fields of nanoscience. In addition, he recently proposed a new mechanism for creating a spin-polarized current, for which he and his co-authors now hold a patent.

“Attracting someone of Dr. Finkelstein’s caliber to Texas A&M University has helped the university and our department increase its stature within the scientific community,” said Dr. George R. Welch, professor of physics and head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Dr. Finkelstein’s achievements in condensed matter physics are famous. He is well known for tackling some of the most challenging problems in science and solving them. I expect many more accolades recognizing these achievements in the future.”

A member of the Texas A&M faculty since 2008, Finkelstein received his doctorate in physics and mathematics from the prestigious Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in 1973. Prior to coming to Texas A&M, he was a longtime professor of physics at Israel’s renowned Weizmann Institute of Science, where he held the Charles and David Wolfson Chair of Theoretical Physics. At Weizmann and at Texas A&M, he is widely respected, both for his first-rate instruction in condensed matter physics graduate courses and for the insight and clarity he brings to his colloquia and research presentations.

For more on Finkelstein and his research, visit http://physics.tamu.edu/directory/showpeople.php?name=Alexander%20Finkelstein&userid=finkelstein.

To learn more about the Humboldt Research Award and other Humboldt Foundation honors, go to http://www.avh.de/web/humboldt-award.html


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