NSU Graduates Elected Honorary Members of American Physical Society

NSU Physics Department graduates Nikolay Vinokurov and Andrei Gritsan became 2019 honorary members of the American Physical Society in the accelerator physics and elementary particle physics sectors. Nikolay Vinokurov is currently a Professor at the NSU Accelerator Physics Section and Gritsan is a Professor at Johns Hopkins University. The American Physical Society annually elects outstanding members to receive the status “Fellow of the American Physical Society”. Each year, no more than one half of one percent of the Society’s membership (excluding student members) is recognized in this way by their peers.

Andrei Gritsan was nominated by the Division of Particles and Fields for his “outstanding contribution to the discovery and study of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and for his outstanding contribution to the measurement of the sin (2α) parameter at the PEP II collider at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Vinokurov was nominated by the Division of Physics of Beams who recognized him “for pioneering theoretical and experimental work in the field of free electron lasers and undulators for synchrotron radiation sources and free electron lasers".

The American Physical Society is the world's second largest organization for physicists. The Society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the Physical Review Letters, one of the most prestigious physics journals, as well as a series of Physical Review journals. The Society conducts more than twenty scientific meetings and events annually.

Gritsan spoke about the projects that got him elected as a Fellow and emphasized that the this honor from the Society provides an incentive to continue and deepen his research,

I have been working at the Large Hadron Collider since 2005 as part of the CMS collaboration. During the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, I was the leader of the group searching for and studying the decay of the boson into two heavy z-bosons. Together with other scientists, we developed a method for determining the Higgs boson against the background of many other particles. Processing data with this technique led to the discovery of the Higgs boson. In 1994, when I was a graduate student at NSU and working at the Institute of Nuclear Physics, I started working on the BaBar experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. The most interesting thing for me in this project was studying the virtual process, when a sufficiently light b-quark decays into two virtual particles with a mass many times larger. These particles then collapse back to a lighter quark. At the BaBar Project, I demonstrated that in some processes decay leads to a strange polarization of particles, while in other decays (in ρρ) it makes a small contribution. This made it possible for us to use these decays for the most accurate measurement of the parameter sin (2α), which describes the Cabibbo – Kobayashi – Maskawa matrix, which in turn describes weak interactions and is important for understanding the difference between matter and antimatter.

The importance of these two projects is proven by the fact that the theoretical works of Peter Higgs and Francois Engler, as well as Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa, were awarded Nobel Prizes in 2013 and 2008 because their theories were confirmed in these projects.

Graduates of the NSU Physics Department are regularly recognized internationally. In 2017, Alexander Alexandrov, Alexander Chernyshev, and Alexey Burov were also elected to be Fellows of the American Physical Society. Valery Lebedev became a "distinguished scientist" at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago. NSU Physicists Sergei Klimenko and Yuri Minenkov contributed to the discovery of gravitational waves that was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.