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Release: Nov. 8, 2000

UI professor is elected AAAS Fellow

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Physics Professor Amitava Bhattacharjee is one of 20 physicists worldwide elected to Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) during the year 2000.

The rank of Fellow will be formally recognized at a Feb. 17, 2001 presentation during the AAAS annual meeting in San Francisco. The AAAS award recognizes members because of their efforts toward advancing science or fostering applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

Bhattacharjee, who joined the UI College of Liberal Arts department of physics and astronomy in 1993, was nominated "for distinguished contributions to magnetic reconnection and turbulence theory and for the broad application of these ideas to laboratory, space, and astrophysical plasma phenomena." Bhattacharjee's research has contributed to a greater understanding of how magnetic fields evolve dynamically and reconfigure themselves in laboratory as well as space environments such as the Earth's magnetosphere, the sun and the interstellar medium. His work has significant implications for cataclysmic natural events like magnetospheric substorms and solar flares as well as the nature of fine-scale magnetic turbulence that permeates much of the Universe.

Bhattacharjee has served as associate professor (1987-1993) and assistant professor (1984-1987) of applied physics, Columbia University; consultant, National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory (1986-1989); fellow, faculty of the Plasma Physics Programme, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad (1983-1984). In 1993, Bhattacharjee was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society for his innovative contributions to magnetic reconnection theory in laboratory and space plasmas. Since his arrival in Iowa in 1993 he has received the James Van Allen Natural Sciences Fellowship (1996) and the Faculty Scholar Award (1997-2000).

The author of more than 120 refereed publications in professional journals and 25 book chapters, he is the co-author, with UI Physics Professor Donald Gurnett, of a textbook, "Introduction to Plasma Physics with Space and Laboratory Applications," scheduled to be published by Cambridge University Press next year. He has served widely on Faculty Senate, Faculty Council and various committees and currently is a member of the College of Liberal Arts Executive Committee. In addition to conducting teaching and research, he has supervised 10 doctoral theses and 10 postdoctoral fellows.

Bhattacharjee earned his bachelor's degree in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in 1975 and a master's in physics as well as a master's in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 1976 and 1978, respectively. He earned a master's and doctorate in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 1979 and 1981, respectively.

Bhattacharjee joins 250 other AAAS members elected to the rank of fellow in 2000. Founded in 1848, the AAAS is the world's largest federation of scientific and engineering societies, with 276 affiliated societies and more than 143,000 individual members.