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Samarth Earns Faculty Scholar Medal for 2008

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Four Penn State professors have received the 2008 Faculty Scholar Medals for Outstanding Achievement: Lisa Bontrager, professor of music, the arts and humanities medal; Keith Cheng, professor of pathology, the life and health sciences medal; Nitin Samarth, professor of physics, the physical sciences medal; and Janice Light, distinguished professor of communication sciences and disorders, the social and behavioral sciences medal.

Established in 1980, the award recognizes scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme.  A committee of faculty peers reviews nominations and selects candidates.

As the physical sciences recipient, Samarth is an international leader in semiconductor spintronics, an emerging area of condensed matter physics that explores new paradigms for information technology.

He is recognized for his contributions to solving critical materials physics issues in spintronics.  His expertise lies in the design and measurement of spin-engineered quantum structures, where the charge and spin of electrons are independently controlled in nanoscale geometries.  His work has placed him at the cutting edge of semiconductor device physics, and has been featured on the covers of Scientific American, Science, and Nature.

Samarth received bachelor's and master's degrees in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, India, and master's and doctoral degrees in physics from Purdue University.  He is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and received the George W. Atherton award for excellence in teaching at Penn State in 2007.

[Vicki Fong]

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