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Physicists receive ‘prestigious recognition’

October 22, 2018

The American Physical Society has announced that Jennifer Ross, physics, and Ryan Hayward, polymer science and engineering, were elected fellows of the American Physical Society (APS) by the APS Council of Representatives at its September meeting. 


As recommended by its Division of Biological Physics (DBIO), Ross is recognized for “significantly advancing understanding of the self-organizational principles of the microtubule cytoskeleton via motor proteins and severing enzymes and how that organization affects intracellular transport. Also, for outstanding service to DBIO and the biophysics community.” 

Hayward is recognized by the division of polymer physics for “developing innovative approaches to control the structure and properties of polymeric materials through processes of elastic buckling and self-assembly.” 

APS points out that the number of fellows elected each year is limited, and this honor is “a prestigious recognition by your peers of your outstanding contributions.” 


Ross says, “This is a real honor, to be named a fellow of APS, nominated by my peers and elected by the governing board of the division of biological physics. I have been working hard not only on my own science, but also on increasing the visibility of diverse scientists. I am honored to be one of a handful of women to achieve this recognition. I am excited to be a role model for other women and underrepresented folks in my field as well as my students.” 

Hayward says, “I’m deeply honored by this recognition and proud to be able to join quite a few of my colleagues in the department and the college, notably including Jennifer Ross in physics, who was also elected an APS fellow this year.” 

The honors were announced in an APS press release and a citation will be published in the December issue of APS News. Fellowship certificates will be presented at the annual meeting of the society’s divisional groups in Boston next March. 

As a biophysicist, Ross tries to understand how biological systems can come together to create emergent properties that scientists would like to emulate with non-biological materials. She was recently awarded an NSF grant with Patricia Wadsworth, biology to uncover the physical principles behind the formation and maintenance of the mitotic spindle. Ross is also part of a team recently awarded a Keck Foundation grant to try to emulate a cyclic mechanical transition in a biopolymer network. Among many other honors, she also previously was awarded the Margaret Oakley-Dayhoff Award by the Biophysical Society and is a Cottrell Scholar awarded by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. 

Hayward, as a polymer scientist and chemical engineer, creates material systems with elastic buckling instabilities that transform their shape, surface morphology and material properties on demand. He has developed microscale polymeric sheets that self-fold into origami structures and 3D shapes in response to external stimuli such as light and heat. His work also focuses on the assembly of nanoscale materials such as polymer nanowires and polymer-embedded nanoparticles to control macroscale properties. Among his other honors, Hayward was named a finalist for the 2018 Blavatnik National Awards in the physical sciences and engineering category by the New York Academy of Sciences and the Blavatnik Family Foundation. 

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