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Penn State physicist Zoltan Fodor named Distinguished Professor

15 February 2024
Zoltan Fodor

Zoltan Fodor, professor of physics and and co-hire of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences at Penn State, has been selected to receive the title of Distinguished Professor of Physics in recognition of his exceptional record of teaching, research, and service to the University community. The honor is designated by the Office of the President of Penn State based on the recommendations of colleagues and the dean of the Eberly College of Science.

“Zoltan Fodor is an outstanding physicist, communicator, and mentor who is working on some of the most fundamental questions at the frontiers of physics,” said Mauricio Terrones, George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Head of the Department of Physics at Penn State. “His colleagues have described his work as impactful, original, creative, and innovative, and he has published some of the most influential papers in his field.”

Fodor’s research focuses on better understanding lattice quantum chromodynamics (QCD) — the theory of the strong nuclear force that binds together quarks and gluons, which are fundamental particles that form the protons and neutrons that make up all matter in the universe. He recently led a team that calculated the magnetic moment of the muon—a sub-atomic particle similar to, but heavier than, an electron—a calculation that brought theoretical and experimental data into agreement. He has conducted research at leading laboratories around the world, including CERN in Geneva, Switzerland; the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Germany; and the Japanese High-Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) in Tsukuba, Japan.

Fodor’s previous awards and honors include being elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2023, a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2022, a fellow of the European Physical Society in 2011 and an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2010. His research has been featured by Science magazine among the “Top 10 Breakthroughs of the Year” in 2008 for determining the Hadron Spectrum and in 2021 for the magnetic moment of the muon. He was awarded the Computerworld Award in 2000 and the Prize of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1998.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 2020, Fodor was appointed to be a professor at the University of Wuppertal, Germany, and at the Lorand Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary. He was a postdoctoral fellow at German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Germany; the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland; and the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) in Tsukuba, Japan. He earned a doctoral degree at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, in 1990.