American Academy of Arts and Sciences elects two Penn State scientists

University Park, Pa. -- Jainendra K. Jain, the Erwin W. Mueller Professor of Physics, and James Kasting, distinguished professor of geosciences, have been named members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers in the United States.

The Penn State scientists are among the 190 new Fellows and 22 Foreign Honorary Members drawn from the sciences, the arts and humanities, business, public affairs and the nonprofit sector.

A faculty member in the Eberly College of Science, Jain is a condensed-matter theorist who is interested in the physics of low-dimensional systems, especially those states in which electrons behave in cooperative ways leading to unexpected emergent behaviors. He is best known for predicting exotic particles named composite fermions to explain the surprising phenomenon known as the fractional quantum Hall effect, whose discoverers, Horst Stormer and Daniel Tsui, shared the 1998 Nobel prize in physics.

Jain was a co-recipient of the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in 2002 from the American Physical Society, for "establishing the composite fermion model for the half-filled Landau level and other quantized Hall systems." The prize was endowed in 1952 by AT&T Bell Laboratories, and is the highest prize in the United States in the field of condensed matter physics.

Jain is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He received Distinguished Postdoctoral Alumnus Award from the University of Maryland in 2004, and the ACIPA Distinguished Scholar Prize in 2008. He is a co-author of 150 scholarly articles and a monograph titled "Composite Fermions," published by the Cambridge University Press in 2007.

Jain earned his bachelor's degree from the Maharaja College in Jaipur, India in 1979, his master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1981, and his doctoral degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1985. He was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maryland from 1986 to 1988 and an associate research scientist at Yale University from 1988 to 1989. He joined SUNY at Stony Brook as an assistant professor in 1989, was promoted to associate professor in 1993, and to professor in 1997. He joined Penn State in the fall of 1998 as Penn State's first Erwin W. Mueller professor of physics.

A faculty member in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Kasting has made broad contributions to the understanding of planetary habitability and evolution. His work has covered such problems as the "Faint Young Sun Paradox," carbon dioxide levels in early Earth's atmosphere, the origins of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere, the effects of glaciation, global warming and asteroid impacts. He is one of the foremost experts on the atmosphere of Mars and on planetary habitable zones.

Kasting is a Fellow of the Geochemical Society, American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life. In 2005, he received the Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal in Physical Sciences, recognizing scholarly or creative excellence.

He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard University in 1975, a master of science in physics and a master of science in atmospheric science in 1978 and his doctoral degree in atmospheric science in 1979 from the University of Michigan. From 1979 to 1981, he was in the Advanced Study Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and then from 1981 to 1983, he was a post-doctoral fellow at NASA Ames Research Center. From 1983 to 1988, he was a research scientist at NASA Ames and joined Penn State in 1988 as an associate professor. He became distinguished professor in 2003.

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Last Updated April 05, 2010