August 23, 2017

Mikhail Lemeshko of IST Austria wins Ludwig Boltzmann Prize

The Austrian Physical Society has awarded its Ludwig Boltzmann Prize to theoretical physicist Mikhail Lemeshko for his pioneering work on angulon quasiparticles

Mikhail Lemeshko receives Boltzmann Prize from
APS President Reinhold Koch (credits: Karl Riedling)

Established in 1953, the Ludwig Boltzmann Prize is awarded once every two years to honor outstanding results achieved by a young researcher in theoretical physics. This year’s sole winner is Mikhail Lemeshko, who is based at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) in Klosterneuburg. In his award-winning paper, he demonstrated that angulons—quasiparticles consisting of molecules immersed in superfluid helium—can simplify the theoretical description of molecules in a solvent and moreover explain experimental data that has been collected over the last 20 years. The prize was awarded to him on August 22, 2017, at the joint annual meeting of the Swiss and Austrian Physical Societies in Geneva.

The three winners of this year's APS prizes (credits: SPS)

Describing and predicting the behavior of molecules rotating in a solvent are extremely challenging tasks, and simulations often require time-consuming computations. A tool that greatly simplifies these calculations is the angulon, a quasiparticle that Mikhail Lemeshko and a collaborator introduced in 2015 (see: “Quantum rotors in a quantum bath”). In a subsequent paper, which won him the Ludwig Boltzmann Prize and is based on work he performed at IST Austria, he showed that angulon theory can explain experimental data on a wide variety of molecules that was collected over the past 20 years (see: “Existence of a new quasiparticle demonstrated).

APS President Reinhold Koch presents Boltzmann Prize to Mikhail Lemeshko
(credits: SPS)

Mikhail Lemeshko obtained his PhD from the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society and performed postdoctoral research at Harvard University before joining IST Austria in 2014. “It is a great honor for me,” says Lemeshko, “one which was made possible by the inspiring and supporting atmosphere created for junior physics faculty at IST Austria.”

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