The Sloan Foundation established its research fellowship program in 1955 to support and recognize early-career scientists and scholars, often in their first appointments to university faculties. Recipients typically have more flexibility with Sloan funding than they would with project grants or other more restricted funding sources. In the program's history, 32 recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prizes and hundreds have received other prestigious awards and honors.
Yuzbashyan, who joined Rutgers in 2004 after earning his doctorate in physics from Princeton University, is studying properties of matter at temperatures close to absolute zero – the point where all motion ceases. Atoms at these temperatures interact with each other in unusual ways; understanding those interactions could promote powerful new technologies such as quantum computing and superconductivity.
Yuzbashyan will initially use his Sloan funding to attend technical conferences and collaborate with specialists in far-flung locations.
"The facilities I need to test my ideas are at universities in Boston, Boulder, Colorado, and Innsbruck, Austria," Yuzbashyan said. "The Sloan funding will make it easier for me to travel to these labs and work alongside experimental physicists. I'm also working with researchers from Great Britain whom I would like to bring to Rutgers." He foresees using his fellowship to fund some graduate research assistant positions.
A native of Armenia, Yuzbashyan earned his Master of Science degree from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1995 and later worked at Russia's Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. He came to the United States in 1998 to pursue his doctoral studies.
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