2 faculty elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

June 24, 2004

Moses Chan, an Evan Pugh professor of physics, and Anatole Katok, Raymond N. Shibley professor of mathematics, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the highest academic honors in the United States.

The two Penn State faculty members are among 178 new Fellows and 24 foreign honorary members elected to the academy this year. Current membership includes more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Chan is director of Penn State's Center for Nanoscale Science, one of 28 research centers in the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program. His research is aimed at answering, or raising, fundamental questions about matter in its various phases or states such as liquid, solid and gas. He is particularly interested in phase transitions — the conditions under which a material changes from one phase to another — in quantum fluids, in reduced dimensions and in the presence of disorder. The principles he and his research group have helped to establish have proven to be useful in understanding a wide variety of problems in condensed-matter systems undergoing phase transitions. Recently, Chan received international acclaim for his discovery, with graduate student Eun-Seong Kim, of a new phase of matter, a "supersolid" form of helium-4 with the extraordinary frictionless-flow properties of a superfluid.

Chan previously has been honored with a Senior Research Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in 1982, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986, selection as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987, the Fritz London Prize in Low-Temperature Physics in 1996, and election as a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences in 2000.

Katok is a specialist in the theory of dynamical systems, which forms the mathematical foundation for the field of nonlinear dynamics and for the theory of chaos. He is the author and co-author of several leading texts and monographs. He is the founding editor of the leading journal in the field, Ergodic Theory and Dynamical Systems.

Katok is the director of the Center for Dynamics and Geometry in the Department of Mathematics and the chairman of Scientific Advisory board for the Penn State Mathematics Advanced Study Semesters, which assembles undergraduate mathematics majors from all over the country for an intensive one-semester immersion that features specially designed courses, seminars and research-oriented projects. He received Penn State's 2002 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award, which honors tenured faculty who have excelled both in teaching at the graduate level and in supervising the thesis work of graduate students. Earlier in his career, he received the Moscow Mathematical Society Prize and, more recently, he was honored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science with its Invitation Fellowship to spend part of the 2003-2004 academic year lecturing and conducting research in Japan.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009