Erukhimova, Mioduszewski Elected as American Physical Society Fellows
Texas A&M University physicists Tatiana Erukhimova and Saskia Mioduszewski have been elected as 2019 Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS), the world’s largest organization of physicists.
No more than one-half of 1 percent of the organization’s current membership is selected by their peers for inclusion in the APS Fellowship Program, which was created to recognize advances in knowledge through original research and publication, innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology, and significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service. Erukhimova and Mioduszewski are among 168 Fellows announced today (Sept. 19) by APS and two of five selected from Texas-based institutions.
Erukhimova, an instructional associate professor of physics and astronomy, is cited “for developing and disseminating innovative physics education programs for college students and the public, and for organizing major science festivals in university settings.” She was nominated by the APS Forum Outreach & Engaging Public. Mioduszewski, a professor of physics and astronomy, is cited “for sustained leadership of high-precision measurement of the quark-gluon plasma using direct photons and their correlations with hadrons and jets at the PHENIX and STAR experiments at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider” and was nominated by the APS Division of Nuclear Physics.
“Professors Tatiana Erukhimova and Saskia Mioduszewski truly are among the shining stars in the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy,” said Dr. Grigory Rogachev, professor and head of Texas A&M Physics and Astronomy. “The long list of awards that they have received over the years is nothing short of remarkable. It is exciting to see these two exceptionally talented faculty elected as Fellows of the American Physical Society.”
Erukhimova joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2006 as both a faculty member and outreach coordinator. In addition to excelling in teaching large introductory physics classes, her passion for inspiring learning through science has motivated the creation of several innovative programs at Texas A&M that integrate education with science outreach and community service, including DEEP (Discover, Explore and Enjoy Physics and Engineering), the Texas A&M Physics Show, Just Add Science and Real Physics Live. She is a co-organizer of the annual Mitchell Institute Physics Enhancement Program (MIPEP), a two-week summer professional development enrichment for physics teachers from Texas high schools. In addition, Erukhimova coordinates the annual Texas A&M Physics and Engineering Festival, an event that attracts several thousand visitors to campus each spring.
In 2017, Erukhimova was recognized with the Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award, the most prestigious faculty honor bestowed by Texas A&M in recognition of classroom performance. She was a plenary presenter for Texas A&M’s inaugural two-day Transformational Teaching & Learning Conference in 2018. A three-time recipient of the Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching — one university level and two college level — Erukhimova has received the John E. Trott Jr. Award in Student Recruiting and the Sigma Xi Outstanding Science Communicator Award. She currently is serving a three-year term (2019-2021) as vice chair of the American Association of Physics Teachers Committee on Science Education for the Public.
Erukhimova earned her Ph.D. from the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1999. Prior to joining the Texas A&M Physics and Astronomy faculty, she completed postdoctoral studies and served four years as an assistant research scientist in the Texas A&M Department of Atmospheric Sciences (2002-2006). She is a co-author along with Texas A&M Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Dr. Gerald R. North of the textbook Atmospheric Thermodynamics, published by Cambridge University Press (2009).
“Tatiana is a legendary instructor in introductory physics courses,” Rogachev said. “Her level of dedication to student success is unmatched. In addition, she is the leader, the heart and the soul of our world-class outreach program that attracts thousands of participants every year to the Physics and Engineering Festival alone, on top of so many other fantastic events that illustrate the importance and excitement of science.”
Mioduszewski joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2005 as an expert in experimental nuclear physics with an emphasis on relativistic heavy ion collisions (RHIC). She is also a member of the Texas A&M Cyclotron Institute. Since earning her doctorate in nuclear physics at the University of Tennessee in 1999, Mioduszewski has carried out her research using the RHIC at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where ions as heavy as gold are accelerated and smashed together at high energies to enable scientists to study nuclear matter and its atomic-level properties under extreme conditions simulating the Big Bang. What physicists learn from these collisions may help us understand more about why the physical world works the way it does, from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest stars.
Specifically, Mioduszewski is a member of the STAR experiment at Brookhaven, an international collaboration of more than 500 physicists and engineers from 60 universities and national laboratories in the U.S. and 11 other countries. As an established world leader in the RHIC physics community, she has been recognized to date with the U.S. Department of Energy Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2004), Brookhaven’s Sambamurti Award (2005), an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (2006) and the American Physical Society’s Maria Goeppert Mayer Award (2009). Most recently at Texas A&M, she was recognized in 2018 as a Presidential Impact Fellow, a perpetual title created in 2017 by Texas A&M President Michael K. Young to honor the university’s top rising stars in scholarship, knowledge generation and related global service.
“Saskia is well known for her contribution to experimental studies of quark-gluon plasma, an exotic state of matter that existed briefly during first few microseconds — in other words, a few one-thousandths of a one-thousandth of a second — after the universe was created,” Rogachev said. “Her work gives us invaluable insight into the interactions that hold matter together and make up the world as we know it. In the process, she’s also helping to educate the next generation of aspiring nuclear scientists as a mentor to both graduate and undergraduate students involved in her projects, which are among the biggest in high energy nuclear physics.”
For more information on the American Physical Society or the APS Fellowship Program, visit at http://www.aps.org.
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