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Rechtsman awarded 2017 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering

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17 October 2017

Mikael RechtsmanMikael Rechtsman, assistant professor of physics at Penn State, has been honored with a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The Packard Foundation established the fellowships program in 1988 to support the research of "the nation's most innovative early-career scientists," providing them with "flexible funding and the freedom to take risks and explore new frontiers in their fields."

In his research, Rechtsman uses both experimental and theoretical approaches to understand photonics, the science of light. As an example, along with colleagues, Rechtsman recently developed a "photonic topological insulator" with the goal of allowing light to be perfectly transported through complex materials -- where normally random scattering would massively disrupt its flow. Rechtsman's research can be applied to devices that transport information using photons and to the development of extremely small optical components such as optical waveguides, diodes, and splitters. These can be used across a number of industries, including computing and telecommunications. He has published papers in a number of peer-reviewed journals including NatureScienceNature PhotonicsNature MaterialsPhysical Review LettersPhysical Review X, and Optics Letters.

Previously, Rechtsman was awarded the Kaufman Foundation New Investigator Grant in 2017, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in 2016, and the Kavli Fellowship of the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 2015, Rechtsman was an Azrieli Postdoctoral Fellow at Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in the lab group of Moti Segev, Robert J. Shillman Distinguished Professor of Physics, from 2010 to 2015 and Courant Instructor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences from 2008 to 2010. He earned a doctoral degree in physics at Princeton University in 2008 and a bachelor's degree in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003.

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