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Research article coauthored by Pitt professor named best article of the year by Science

PITTSBURGHA paper in the prestigious journal Science coauthored by University of Pittsburgh physicist Sergey Frolov has garnered him and his colleagues the 2012 Newcomb Cleveland Prize, an annual honor awarded to the author or authors of the best research article or report appearing in Science, which is published weekly by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The prize carries with it a cash award of $25,000.

The paper, "Signatures of Majorana fermions in hybrid superconductor-semiconductor nanowire devices," highlights the detection of the Majorana fermion, a long-sought-after physics particle expected to have properties ideal for quantum computing. The article was published in Science on May 25, 2012, and featured on that issue's cover.

"We are humbled by the honor of this prize," said Frolov, study coprincipal investigator and assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy within Pitt's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. "We will continue exploring the field that we started with this paper, and, in my new laboratory at Pitt, we'll use Majorana particles to assemble the building blocks of a quantum computer."

Frolov worked on the research detailed in the paper while serving as a postdoctoral fellow in the Netherlands at Delft University of Technology. His collaborators include Vincent Mourik, Leo Kouwenhoven, and Kun Zuo of Delft University of Technology and Sebastien Plissard and Erik Bakkers from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Some previous recipients of the Newcomb Cleveland Prize have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, among them the notable 1995 Cleveland Prize honoree Eric A. Cornell, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2001 for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms and his early fundamental studies of the properties of those condensates.

The association's oldest prize, now supported by Affymetrix, the Newcomb Cleveland Prize annually recognizes the author or authors of an outstanding paper published in the Research Articles or Reports sections of the journal Science between June and the following May. Eligible Science papers include those with original research data, theories, or synthesis representing a fundamental contribution to basic knowledge, or a technical achievement of far-reaching consequence. Winning nominations are first-time publications of the author's or authors' own work.

The prize was established in 1923 with funds donated by Newcomb Cleveland of New York City and was originally called the AAAS Thousand Dollar Prize. It is now, with its $25,000 award, known as the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize.

Winners receive a bronze medal, complimentary registration, and reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting, which takes place Feb. 14-18 in Boston. The awards ceremony and reception will be held in the Republic Ballroom of the Sheraton Boston Hotel from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Feb. 15.

Contact: B. Rose Huber
University of Pittsburgh

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