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Russian Academy of Sciences honours Lancaster physicist

11/03/2006 10:24:56

Prof Pickett receiving his award from the Vice President of the RAS Prof Aleksandr Dmitriyevich Nekipelov
Prof Pickett receiving his award from the Vice President of the RAS Prof Aleksandr Dmitriyevich Nekipelov

Professor George Pickett, from the Department of Physics, who was elected a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, received his award in Moscow this week and pleased his audience by giving his acceptance speech in Russian.

The Russian Academy of Sciences is among the oldest in Europe, founded in St. Petersburg by Peter the Great in 1724. Many of the 200 foreign members are Nobel Prize winners.The RAS is not only the Russian equivalent of the Royal Society but also runs many research establishments in Russia.Professor Pickett is also a fellow of the Royal Society.

Professor Pickett and colleagues in the Physics Department are particularly well known for low temperature physics. They have been working with nuclear cooling facilities since about 1980 and have held numerous world records, gaining the lowest temperature ever reached in 1984 and again in 1993. Cooling to such low temperatures makes it possible to study the fundamental quantum behaviour of matter, which in turn sheds light on wider questions about the origins of the Universe.

The department is the highest rated Physics department for research outside the London/Oxbridge triangle and also has an excellent rating for teaching.

“When one looks at the calibre of the existing foreign membership this election represents an enormous endorsement.” said George Pickett. “I have enjoyed collaborating with many Soviet and then Russian scientists since the eighties and have always had a strong interest in Eastern European physics since my time as a research fellow in the near neighbour, Finland. Given the restricted resources available to scientists in these areas, the quality of the work done is very impressive. It is a great honour to be associated with it.”

From 2001-2003 George Pickett was the chairman of the Council of Scientists of INTAS, the European Union organization which channels EU research funding to the countries of the former Soviet Union. He is also a foreign member of the Finnish Academy. He came to Lancaster University in the 1970s.