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Robert Grzywacz Named APS Fellow

October 13, 2016
Robert Grzywacz

Physics Professor Robert Grzywacz has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was recognized “for pioneering use of digital signal processing for decay studies of exotic nuclei to identify extremely short-lived proton emitters and, through its unique triggering capabilities, to discover super-allowed alpha decay.” The honor comes a few weeks before public review closes on the names of four new elements, including Z = 117, provisionally named Tennessine and whose existence was in part confirmed by Grzywacz’s work measuring the decay of nuclear materials. The name was chosen to honor the state of Tennessee in recognition of the scientific contributions of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Tennessee.

Grzywacz has a key role in connecting all these players. He is a visiting research professor in the ORNL Physics Division and director of the UT-ORNL/Vanderbilt Joint Institute for Nuclear Physics and Applications (JINPA). He joined the physics faculty at UT in 2003 after a two-year appointment as a Wigner Fellow at ORNL. His research has consistently gained notice for excellence: in 2007 he was honored with a UT Chancellor's Award for Professional Promise in Research and Creative Achievement. During the 2013 Department of Energy (DOE) Nuclear Physics Comparative Research Review, the agency ranked the activities of his research group among the top seven in the country. APS Fellowship is the latest accolade for Grzywacz, who received a PhD in nuclear physics in 1998 from Warsaw University in Poland.

The number of APS Fellows elected each year is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the APS membership. UT Physics and Astronomy now boasts 11 fellows among current faculty: Cristian Batista, Elbio Dagotto, Mike Fitzsimmons, Geoff Greene, Robert Grzywacz, Tony Mezzacappa, Adriana Moreo, Thomas Papenbrock, Lee Riedinger, Soren Sorensen, and Hanno Weitering.

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