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Stwalley receives state’s highest science award

by Michael Kirk - October 3, 2005

The prestigious Connecticut Medal of Science was awarded to William C. Stwalley, the chairman of the University of Connecticut’s physics department at a ceremony attended by Gov. M. Jodi Rell in Hartford Sept. 28.

The award, modeled after the National Medal of Science, was created by the state legislature and is the state’s highest award for scientists and engineers. Its purpose is to recognize extraordinary achievements in scientific fields crucial to Connecticut’s economic competitiveness.

“I’m pleased to be recognized for my work by the State of Connecticut and the prestigious institutions that present this award,” said Stwalley. “Not only does it reflect well on me, my students, and my departmental colleagues, but also on the University as a whole. There is a great deal of extraordinary work taking place at UConn, and our department is an important contributor to science and high technology.”

A video shown during the awards dinner depicted Stwalley’s achievements, and said his research “has paved the way for some of the most exciting developments in physics today. He has played a seminal role in the creation of a new subfield of physics that bridges atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, and the evolving field of nanoscience.”

Peter Nicholls, university provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, says, “Bill Stwalley is an immense talent and an exceptionally valuable asset to the University. His work and the work of his students and colleagues in the physics department have helped make it a leader in the field. Its standing will only continue to grow under his leadership and through their remarkable research. This honor was truly well deserved.”

Professor William Stwalley, chairman of the physics department, received the 2005 Connecticut Medal of Science Sept. 28.
Professor William Stwalley, chairman of the physics department, received the 2005 Connecticut Medal of Science Sept. 28.
Photo by Melissa Arbo

UConn’s ultracold-research group, which Stwalley leads, has an international reputation for excellence. The study of ultracold matter is one of the frontiers of physics today; its potential impacts range from fundamental science to important new applications such as quantum computing and improved clocks, interferometers, and gyroscopes.

Professor Stwalley has edited six books, published more than 300 articles, holds six patents and was awarded the Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award at UConn.

The medal was presented to him last week during the Alliance for Connecticut Technology Innovation Day and Award Dinner at the Connecticut Convention Center. He will be permanently featured at the new Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration.

The nomination process is organized by the state department of higher education and the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

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