Physicist Peter Young receives Humboldt Research Award

peter young
Peter Young

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has elected A. Peter Young, professor of physics at UC Santa Cruz, to receive a Humboldt Research Award this year. The award is conferred in recognition of lifetime achievements in research, and recipients are invited to carry out research projects in cooperation with specialist colleagues in Germany.

Young will be visiting the University of Oldenburg as a Humboldt laureate in 2012 and 2013. There he will collaborate with Professor Alexander Hartmann on the physics of disordered systems and new numerical techniques with which to study them.

Young studies phase transitions in random systems, such as the highly disordered magnetic systems known as "spin glasses." Research on spin glasses has led to advances in many other areas of science, including brain function, optimization problems in computer science, and high-temperature superconductors. Young also studies phase transitions driven by quantum fluctuations rather than thermal fluctuations.

The Humboldt Foundation grants up to 100 Humboldt Research Awards annually, each valued at 60,000 euros. The awards are granted to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.