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Niagara University physics professor selected as Kavli Institute Scholar

by jmaloni
Tue, Feb 22nd 2011 02:40 pm

Niagara University announces John Wang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of physics at NU, has been selected as a scholar by the prestigious Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The institute is one of the major think tanks for theoretical physics in the world. Approximately eight scholar awards are given out each year.

Wang's three-year award provides him with travel funds and opportunities to collaborate with researchers at the Kavli Institute, which is directed by Nobel Prize winner David Gross.

"I am particularly enthused about the chance to work with some of the Kavli Institute's incredible scientists and hope to learn a lot from them," said Wang, who plans to discuss duality in physics with his colleagues. "Perhaps the most fascinating discovery in my lifetime is the idea that we should describe physics from different mathematical perspectives. This thinking has led us to uncover hints that gravity and black holes in our universe may be described by a two-dimensional theory that does not have gravity and is more similar to our theory of light."

Launched in 1979 under the auspices of the National Science Foundation, the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics, or KITP, has emerged in the last 30 years as a model for facilitating productive and sustained scientific collaboration. Initially conceived as a national center for theoretical physics, the KITP has evolved a model for collaboration that has been widely imitated both by other disciplines (mathematics, for example) and by other countries (most recently China and India). The KITP has routinely attracted the best scientists not only from the U.S., but also from around the world to formulate and to participate in its programs and workshops. It has, consequently, become a leading center for advancing theoretical science.

The Kavli Foundation was established in 2000 in Oxnard, Calif., by its founder and benefactor, Fred Kavli, a prominent physicist-turned-entrepreneur and noted philanthropist whose foundation is actively involved in establishing major research institutes at leading universities and institutions in the U.S., Europe and Asia. To date, The Kavli Foundation has made grants to establish Kavli Institutes on the campuses of the University of California Santa Barbara, Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Yale University, Cornell University, the University of California San Diego, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harvard University, the University of Cambridge and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The foundation's mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics, as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

Wang earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Cornell University in 1995 before earning a master's (1997) and doctorate (2001) from the University of California, Berkeley. He performed post-doctorate work at Academia Sinica (located in Taiwan), National Taiwan University and Harvard University and then served as an assistant professor at the National Center for Theoretical Sciences. Wang joined Niagara University in 2006 and is proud to be a part of NU's growing physics program.

This May, Niagara University is slated to break ground on the B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences, a state-of-the-art facility that will provide teaching laboratories and space to support cutting-edge integrated research collaborations among faculty and students in biology, biochemistry, chemistry and physics, and prepare students for leadership in the medical profession.

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