21 November 2016

MagLab trio named AAAS fellows

MagLab physicists (left to right) Luis Balicas, Kun Yang and Scott Crooker  have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. MagLab physicists (left to right) Luis Balicas, Kun Yang and Scott Crooker have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The physicists have been recognized for their contributions to innovation, education and scientific leadership.

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TALLAHASSEE — National MagLab scientists Luis Balicas, Scott Crooker and Kun Yang have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

This year the honor goes to 391 AAAS members who have helped advance science or its applications with scientifically or socially distinguished work.

“The fact that AAAS has recognized three MagLab scientists this year is a testament not only to their exceptional research, but to how effective high magnetic fields are at providing new scientific insights about the world,” said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger.

Balicas, a senior scientist at Florida State University (FSU), earned the honor of AAAS Fellow for making distinguished contributions to the fields of condensed matter physics and materials science, particularly for experiments at extreme conditions (such as high magnetic fields and very low temperatures) and contributions to the nanosciences.

“To me, this represents a recognition of the quality of the research performed at the MagLab and at FSU for almost two decades,” said Balicas. “Scientific research requires a high level of personal commitment and it is always comforting to know that our peers at scientific associations perceive and evaluate our effort positively.”

Fellow FSU physicist Yang was cited for his contributions to theoretical condensed matter physics, particularly in topological phases of matter.

“I am very much humbled by this honor,” Yang said. “This would not be possible without the continuous support I have been receiving from the MagLab and physics department since I joined FSU in 1999.”

Topological phases of matter gained widespread attention last month when three scientists were awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in this area. One of those scientists, F. Duncan Haldane of Princeton University, nominated Yang for the AAAS award. Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers.

Scott Crooker, a physicist at the National MagLab’s Pulsed Field Facility in Los Alamos, N.M., was honored for distinguished contributions to condensed matter physics, particularly in the development of magneto-optical spectroscopies and their application to fundamental properties of electronic materials.

Florida State’s Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander said the work of the FSU researchers deserves this special recognition.

“Luis Balicas and Kun Yang are shining examples of the researchers here at FSU who are working daily to further our understanding of the world around us,” Ostrander said. “This honor by their peers and the AAAS demonstrates how valued their scientific contributions are, and we couldn’t be prouder of this recognition.”

The official presentation is scheduled for Feb. 18 during the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. The organization is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science and several other publications.

Adapted from Florida State University story by Dave Heller.


The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet facility. Located at Florida State University, the University of Florida and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the interdisciplinary National MagLab hosts scientists from around the world to perform basic research in high magnetic fields, advancing our understanding of materials, energy and life. The lab is funded by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1157490) and the state of Florida. For more information, visit us online at nationalmaglab.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at NationalMagLab.