Condensed Matter Theory Lecture Set for October 14 at UMD

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Nobel laureate Klaus von Klitzing has been named the 2014 recipient of the Richard E. Prange Prize and Lectureship in Condensed Matter Theory and Related Areas. Dr. von Klitzing will receive a $10,000 honorarium and deliver a public lecture entitled "A New Kilogram in 2018” at the University of Maryland, College Park, on October 14, 2014. He will also present a Condensed Matter Theory Center and Joint Quantum Institute seminar entitled “Stripes and Bubbles in Quantum Hall Systems” on Monday, October 13, 2014.

The Prange Prize, established by the UMD Department of Physics and Condensed Matter Theory Center (CMTC), honors the late Professor Richard E. Prange, whose distinguished professorial career at Maryland spanned four decades (1961-2000). The Prange Prize is made possible by a gift from Dr. Prange's wife, Dr. Madeleine Joullié, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.

Von Klitzing, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Germany, received the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the quantum Hall effect, based on his research at the High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Grenoble, France. Von Klitzing’s completely unexpected experimental discovery of the quantum Hall effect in 1980, when he found that the Hall resistance of two-dimensionally confined electrons in silicon metal-oxide-semiconductor-field-effect-transistors (MOSFETs) takes on quantized values at low temperatures and high magnetic fields with the resistance defined entirely by the fundamental constants ‘e’ (the charge of the electron) and ‘h’ (the Planck’s constant), has been hailed as one of the most important experimental discoveries in physics during the last hundred years, rivaling the discovery of superconductivity or superfluidity. This phenomenon of quantized Hall resistance has now been observed in many two-dimensional systems, and can even be observed at room temperatures in graphene. The quantum Hall effect now forms the fundamental standard for defining the electrical resistance, and defines a new kind of topological quantum phase of matter. Richard Prange not only wrote the very first paper (in 1981) providing a theoretical clue for the quantization of the Hall resistance in the von Klitzing experiment, but also edited the very first book on the quantum Hall effect in 1986 (with a forward written by Klaus von Klitzing).

Klaus von Klitzing received his doctorate and his habilitation at the University of Würzburg in 1972 and 1978, respectively. He was a Heisenberg Fellow of the German Research Foundation when he made his famous discovery, and a professor at the München Technical University before becoming a director at the Max Planck Institute. He received the 1981 Walter Schottky Prize of the German Physical Society and the 1982 Hewlett Packard Prize of the European Physical Society.

The Prange Prize lecture will be given at the University of Maryland's John S. Toll Physics Building at 4:00 p.m. on October 14 in the lecture hall, Room 1412. The event is open to the public. The “Stripes and Bubbles in Quantum Hall Systems” seminar will begin at 11a.m. October 13 in Room 2400 of the CSS building and is offered in conjunction with the Joint Quantum Institute.

At the University of Chicago, Richard Prange received his PhD under Nobelist Yoichiro Nambu and also worked with Murray Gell-Mann and Marvin Goldberger. At the University of Maryland, he edited a highly respected book on the quantum Hall effect and made important theoretical contributions to the subject. His interests extended into all aspects of theoretical physics, and continued after his retirement. Dr. Prange was a member of the Maryland condensed matter theory group for more than 40 years and was an affiliate of CMTC since its inception in 2002.

"Richard enjoyed a fascinating and fulfilling career at the University of Maryland exploring condensed matter physics, and even after retirement was active in the department," said Dr. Joullié. "He spent the very last afternoon of his life in the lecture hall for a colloquium on graphene, followed by a vigorous discussion. And so I was happy to institute the Prange Prize, to generate its own robust discussions in condensed matter theory."

"The Prange Prize provides a unique opportunity to acknowledge transformative work in condensed-matter theory, a field that has proven to be an inexhaustible source of insights and discoveries in both fundamental and applied physics,” said Dr. Sankar Das Sarma, who holds the Richard E. Prange Chair in Physics at UMD and is also a Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Condensed Matter Theory Center.

Since its initiation in 2009, the Prange Prize has been awarded to Nobelists Philip W. Anderson (2009), Walter Kohn (2010), Daniel Tsui (2011), Andre Geim (2012) and David Gross (2013).


Parking is available in the Regents Drive Garage, across the street from the Physics lecture hall; an attendant will direct visitors within the garage. A free ShuttleUM bus runs to and from the College Park Metro station at about eight-minute intervals.

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