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NEWS | Oct. 11, 2013

Dr. Steven Erwin Receives Sigma Xi Award for Pure Science

By Daniel Parry

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) theoretical physicist Dr. Steven Erwin is the 2013 recipient of the NRL-Edison Chapter Sigma Xi Award for Pure Science. Erwin receives the award for pioneering contributions toward understanding how electronic and magnetic properties of solids are determined by impurities, surface absorbates, and structural defects.

Head of the Theory of Advanced Functional Materials Section in NRL's Center for Computational Materials Science, his work has earned worldwide recognition in the areas of semiconductor surface physics, doped nanocrystals, dilute magnetic semiconductors, and C60 fulleride solids.

Dr. Erwin's work at NRL has stimulated new research worldwide, said Dr. Michael Mehl, head of the Center for Computational Materials Science. He has made influential and lasting contributions to the field of theoretical and condensed-matter physics and is regularly cited and discussed in research literature, textbooks, and numerous national and international trade journals.

Erwin came to NRL in 1988 as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow and completed a second postdoctoral position at the University of Pennsylvania before returning to NRL in 1994 as a staff member. He received a B.A. degree in physics from Harvard University in 1982, and an M.S. and Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984 and 1988, respectively.

In addition to receiving the Sigma Xi Pure Science Award, Erwin's top professional acknowledgements have included the U.S. Navy Dolores M. Etter Top Navy Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award (2008), Fellow of the American Physical Society (2006), Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (1998), and the National Research Council Postdoctoral Associateship (1988).

Member of the American Physical Society and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Paul Drude Institute (Berlin, Germany), Erwin's current research interests include surfaces and interfaces of semiconductors and metals, magnetism in semiconductors, and doped nanocrystals. He is the author or coauthor of 130 published papers and has been the invitational speaker at 120 professional and university symposia.

Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 and has grown to include over 500 chapters and clubs across North America. The Scientific Research Society actively promotes the promise of science and technology. Membership in NRL's Edison Chapter is limited to any person performing scientific research at NRL or at the Office of Naval Research who, as evidenced by published results, has shown noteworthy scientific accomplishment as an original investigator in some branch of pure or applied science, or as a scientific director of such research.

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