COLLEGE STATION - Dr. Dimitri Nanopoulos, who holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Physics at Texas A&M University and is one of the world's leading researchers in high-energy physics, has been selected by the Italian Physical Society (SIF) as one of two recipients of its 2009 Enrico Fermi Prize in recognition of his pioneering international work in the field of string theory.
Nanopoulos, who ranks as the fourth most cited high-energy physicist of all time with more than 34,500 citations and 580 referred articles to his credit, is praised by the SIF "for the discovery of fundamental phenomenological properties of grand unification and superstring theories.
"I feel it was quite a surprise, because this is a prize for all of physics, not just my specific field of work," Nanopoulos
"To be recognized by the SIF
, I felt very honored and proud.
Something like this helps boost your work and gives you more to look forward to."
Nanopoulos, a member of the Texas A&M faculty since 1989 and holder of the Mitchell-Heep Chair in High-Energy Physics since 2002, also serves as head of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) astroparticle physics group.
is known as one of the founders of Grand Unification Theory
(GUT), which seeks to combine gravitation, electroweak and strong forces in an explanation for everything in the Universe.
His years of research in string unified theories has led to advances in similar fields of study, such as cosmology, fundamental quantum theory and quantum-inspired models of brain function.
The Fermi Award marks the latest honor in a lengthy list of accolades for Nanopoulos
, who was recognized in 2006 by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation
with the Onassis International Prize for his
achievements in the natural sciences.
In 2005 he was appointed as president of the Greek National Council for Research and Technology and as Greece's national representative to both the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
In 1997, he became the youngest member elected to the Academy of Athens' Natural and Applied Sciences.
"We are extremely pleased that Professor Nanopoulos and his research have been recognized with the 2009 Enrico Fermi Prize," said Dr. Edward S. Fry, professor and head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
has a history of striking research achievements, and we anticipate these contributions will continue."
This most recent award is particularly gratifying for Nanopoulos
, who cites Fermi
as a long-time inspiration for his
He describes the physicist as hero of his who was both experimental and theoretical, unlike most modern-day scientists, who typically are "one or the other."
"This is one of the reasons I have always tried to model my work after his
"I have tried to go beyond theoretical precepts and test things experimentally.
On one hand, we do theorize, but I've always tried to bridge the gap
A fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) since 1988, Nanopoulos joined the SIF in 1992 and has led more than 400 presentations at various international conferences.
A native of Athens, Greece, he is a graduate of the University of Athens and earned his doctorate from the University of Sussex in England.
To learn more about Nanopoulos
research, visit http://faculty.physics.tamu.edu/dimitri/.