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Distinguished Professor Sarachik Elected Council of the National Academy of Sciences

 

   Dr. Myriam P. Sarachik, University Distinguished Professor of Physics at City College, has been elected to the 17-member Governing Council of the National Academy of Sciences, which is the Academy’s governing body.  She will serve a three-year term beginning July 1, 2008.

The Academy is a private, nonprofit institution that provides science advice under a Congressional charter.  Its membership is comprised of approximately 2,000 members and 350 foreign associates elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievement in original research.  Election to the Academy, which includes more than 200 Nobel Prize recipients, is one of the highest honors than can be accorded a scientist.

Professor Sarachik, who has taught at CCNY since 1964, is one of the world’s foremost researchers in experimental condensed matter physics and has earned numerous honors during an extraordinarily distinguished career. She has published nearly 150 articles in professional journals and has conducted research in superconductivity, disordered metallic alloys, metal-insulator transitions in doped semiconductors, hopping transport in solids and molecular magnets. 

A warm, friendly woman who is admired by students and faculty alike, Dr. Sarachik has been a pioneer and role model for women in the sciences.  Only the third woman to serve as president of the American Physical Society in the organization’s 105-year history, she began her career when few women chose careers as physics researchers.

“In order for our nation to maintain its technological leadership we must utilize the talents of women and other underrepresented groups,” Dr. Sarachik said.  “I’m proud that CCNY is a leader in outreach programs that encourage young women and minorities to enter the sciences, mathematics and engineering. We have numerous programs that enable high school and middle school students to engage in research with faculty mentors, and City also has the largest undergraduate research program in the New York region.”

Dr. Sarachik’s research includes the study of organic materials called molecular magnets that could lead to a breakthrough in developing quantum computers based on quantum mechanics. Physicists around the world are engaged in the pursuit of a computer based on quantum bits or “qubits” that could supersede current models that function on the binary concept of ones and zeroes.  Professor Sarachik is at the forefront of this groundbreaking research.

Last year she was elected to the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is that organization’s policy-making body.  In addition, she has served in an advisory capacity to the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Physics and various universities in the U.S. and abroad. She has also been a National Board member of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, and a member of the Human Rights of Scientists Committee of the New York Academy of Sciences.

In 2005 Professor Sarachik was named the For Women in Science L'Oreal/UNESCO Laureate for North America, which included a $100,000 prize.  Sponsored by L’ORÉAL, the global cosmetics company, in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the award was initiated in 1998 to elevate the role of women in the scientific community by highlighting and rewarding their contributions. Also in 2005, she received the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in Condensed Matter Physics, which recognizes outstanding theoretical or experimental contributions to condensed matter physics.  She shared the award with two other renowned physicists, Gabriel Aeppli of the University College-London, and David Awschalom of the University of California-Santa Barbara.  Dr. Sarachik was honored for her research with Jonathan Friedman, then a graduate student of hers, that led to their discovery in 1995 of the reversal of the magnetism of molecular magnets by a quantum mechanical process called “quantum tunneling.”

Dr. Sarachik’s other honors include the 1995 New York City Mayor's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology and a 2004 Sloan Public Service Award from the Fund for the City of New York. In 2006 she received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Amherst College.  She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

 

For NAS news release, see:

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=02122008

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