Department news

Dr. Paul Pancella received a national award

Pancella, professor of nuclear physics, received a City Captain Award in Plug In America's 2022 Drive Electric Awards on Oct. 27 in Manhattan Beach, California, for his leadership and unwavering commitment to the electric vehicle movement. Pancella leads the Kalamazoo Electric Vehicle Association which he helped establish in 2015.

Dr. Elias Garratt awarded 2022 Alumni Achievement Award

Garratt (Ph.D. ’13) is a Diamond Crystal Growth Scientist in General Technical Services/Army Research Laboratory in College Park, Maryland. His career highlights include competitive fellowships (totaling over $250,000), internal and external funding (over $1 million), publications and student mentorship. In 2012, as part of the National Science Foundation Fellowship, he studied the effects of ion implantation in nanocrystalline diamonds. From 2014 to 2017, he participated in the National Research Council Research Associateship Program as a postdoctoral research fellow studying scalable and controllable nanowire synthesis techniques through the National Institute of Standards and Technology. From 2019 to 2021, he was awarded the Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellow each year to investigate the applications of diamond color centers in quantum technology.

His work in diamond research as an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University was funded by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Research Lab, Department of Energy and Michigan State University Foundation. He has authored or co-authored over 20 publications in the areas of diamond material research and nanotechnology in top-tier journals, such as Advanced Materials Interfaces. In addition to these many accomplishments, Dr. Garratt is most proud of his student mentorship of four Ph.D. students and six undergraduates in Materials Science and Physics. His students have won competitive fellowships, presented at professional conferences and gone on to work in top diamond-growing companies.

Having developed a successful research program and lab, he was recruited by the Army Research Laboratory to expand their diamond synthesis lab, where he supports cutting-edge device research in the field of radio-frequency communication. He volunteers his time with the Materials Research Society Government Affairs Committee to advocate for continued and expanded funding for materials research in the US. In his free time, he volunteers at the local food bank in College Park, Maryland, where he currently resides.

Dr. Khushi Bhatt received the George E. Bradley Award

Bhatt was recognized for her exceptional overall performance with particular emphasis on excellence in research. She successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation on June 26, 2022. Her name will be added to a plaque displayed in the George E. Bradley Physics Commons.

She studied how the heaviest known p-nuclei (Hg-196) is synthesized in explosive stellar environments, by creating some of the same stellar nuclear reactions in the lab. The p-nuclei (proton-rich nuclei) are rarest of all stable nuclei known in this universe.

During her studies, Bhatt also received a Gwen Frostic Doctoral Fellowship and two Graduate Student Research awards.

Alec Tilton awarded the 2022 Presidential Scholar in Physics

Tilton graduated in April with a major in physics and mathematics. He also received the department’s Charles J. Wilcox Award for his outstanding scholarly work in physics.

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