Physicist Chakraborty wins prestigious Simons Foundation fellowship

Photo: Mike Lovett

Bulbul Chakraborty

Enid and Nate Ancell Professor of Physics Bulbul Chakraborty has received a prestigious fellowship in theoretical physics from the Simons Foundation in New York.
Chakraborty, a condensed matter theorist, was one of just 12 theoretical physicists from the United States and Canada selected as a fellow. The award comes with funding to extend a researcher’s sabbatical to a full academic year.

"The foundation is proud to support the work of these distinguished scientists," the Simons organization said on its website.

Chakraborty will use the money to spend August through December at The International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS), part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bengaluru, India.

Her research focuses on the behavior of granular materials, discrete solid, macroscopic particles often found together in large numbers. Rocks, snowflakes, coffee grinds and grains of rice are examples of granular materials. Her sophisticated theoretical models answer such questions as how sand behaves when pressed underfoot or how grain moves through a silo.

In her fellowship application, Chakraborty wrote, “I will conduct research on the theoretical aspects of soft and biological materials that are fragile, characterized by marginally stable stress networks that emerge in response to external stresses.” She said she would look to establish a “connection between the theoretical framework for fragile matter and theories of other condensed matter systems, notably quantum spin liquids, where the traditional definition of phases fails.”

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