Dujovne Wins 2005 Simon Prize


The Robert Simon Memorial Prize is awarded annually by the APAM Department to the graduate student who has completed the most outstanding dissertation. This year, Dr. Irene Dujovne was the winner of the award.

Dr. Dujovne received her Ph.D. from Columbia on February 9, 2005. Her dissertation was entitled "Resonant inelastic light scattering studies in the fractional quantum Hall regime and of phase transitions in relaxor ferroelectrics". She was advised by Prof. Aron Pinczuk of the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Physics. Dr. Dujovne has made many noteworthy contributions to understanding the collective behavior of materials at low temperatures and in high magnetic fields. Dujovne's thesis work explored the extreme conditions of the fractional quantum Hall regime using inelastic light scattering. She uncovered low-lying collective excitation modes that provided new insights on spin excitations and the interactions and properties of quasiparticles that exist in quantum liquids. Dr. Dujovne also studied low-energy excitations in special solid-state solutions of ferroelectrics called "relaxors" whose properties can be tuned to enhance their electrostrictive and piezoelectric properties. Dujovne observed low-energy acoustic-optic modes and studied their function during phase transitions and phase instabilities in the ferroelectric alloy.

Dr. Dujovne received her degree Licenciado en Ciencias Físicas (Physics) from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1997. She entered Columbia University as a graduate student in Applied Physics in the Fall of 1998 and the following year started her thesis work in the laboratory of Prof. Pinzuk, both on-campus and at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies. While at Columbia, Dujovne was first author on two important articles, "Evidence of Landau levels and interactions in low-lying excitations of composite fermions at 1/3 <= ν<= 2/5" published in Physical Review Letters and "Soft vibrations and acoustic-optic mode couplings in ferroelectrics with large piezoelectric responses" published in the Physical Review B. Dr. Dujovne was also a significant contributor to other timely papers concerning quantum phase transitions and light scattering measurements of nanoscale films.

Dr. Dujovne presently holds a postdoctoral position at the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, where she is working under the direction of Prof. Cees Dekker.

History of the Robert Simon Memorial Prize

The Robert Simon Memorial Prize is awarded annually by the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics to the graduate student who has completed the most outstanding dissertation. Should no graduate student’s dissertation qualify in any given year, the prize may be awarded to either the most outstanding student who has completed a Master of Science degree in the department or to the most outstanding graduating senior in the department. The department chair in consultation with the department faculty selects the awardee.

Robert Simon (December 25, 1919 - February 11, 2001) received a B.A. degree cum laude in Classics from the City College of New York in 1941, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.A. in Mathematics from Columbia University in 1949. Between 1941 and 1944, Mr. Simon was a Lieutenant in the United States Armed forces serving in England, France, and Italy. He participated in the D-Day operation as a navigator for a plane that dropped paratroopers in the vicinity of Omaha Beach. General Dwight Eisenhower personally shook his hand and wished him well the night before the D-Day assault.

Mr. Simon, who was born and lived in NYC, spent a lifetime making valuable contributions to the field of computer science. Starting in 1953, he worked for 15 years at Sperry's Univac Division in various capacities including marketing, planning, systems engineering, systems programming and information services. He also spent a year working at the Fairchild Engine Division as Director of the Engineering Computer Group. He personally directed the establishment of several company computer centers at sites throughout the United States. Between 1969 and 1973, he was a partner with American Science Associates, a venture capital firm. Mr. Simon was a founder and Vice President of Intech Capital Corporation and served on its board from 1972 to 1981 and a founder and member of the board of Leasing Technologies International, Inc. from 1983 until his retirement in 1995. The prize was established in 2001 by Dr. Jane Faggen with additional support from friends and relatives of Mr. Simon.

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