WASHINGTON,D.C. — Deborah S. Jin, a physicist and fellow of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has been elected as one of 72 new members to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Jin is a fellow at JILA, a physics research institute jointly operated by NIST and the University of Colorado (CU), and is also an associate adjoint professor at CU-Boulder.
Election to membership in the academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. Members are elected by current members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
Jin, 36, joins Susan Solomon of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the youngest woman to be elected to the academy.
The NAS election was held May 3, 2005, during the business session of the 142nd annual meeting of the academy. The current total number of active members is 1,976. (For a link to the press release with the full list of new members, see http://national-academies.org/.)
Jin leads a team of physicists at JILA that reported in January 2004 the first observation of a "fermionic condensate" formed from pairs of atoms in an ultracold gas, a long-sought, novel form of matter. Physicists hope that further research with such condensates eventually will help unlock the mysteries of high-temperature superconductivity, a phenomenon with the potential to improve energy efficiency dramatically across a broad range of applications.
In October 2003, Jin won a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as a "genius grant."
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