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Physicist Paul DeYoung Receives
National Research Award

Posted October 31, 2000

HOLLAND -- Dr. Paul DeYoung of the Hope College physics faculty has received top recognition from the American Physical Society (APS) for 2001 for outstanding research and mentoring as a physicist at an undergraduate institution.

One of DeYoung's colleagues describes the award as the highest recognition available to a physicist at an undergraduate school.

"Each year, this award recognizes that person doing premier research at an undergraduate institution," said Dr. John Krupczak, who is a member of the college's physics and engineering faculty and was one of several colleagues from Hope and elsewhere who nominated DeYoung for the honor. "The award further recognizes that the recipient is doing quality research in a way that benefits undergraduate students."

The award, the "Prize to a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution," was established in 1984 by a grant from the Research Corporation. The award citation recognizes DeYoung's "research on reaction processes using short-lived nuclear beams and for his outstanding leadership, both in his research group and his institution, in creating an undergraduate research community."

Given the college's focus on undergraduate research, DeYoung noted that he believes that any number of his colleagues are equally deserving of the recognition. "I happened to win the award, but I think we could have made a case for many others who are doing outstanding research in physics," he said. "This is what Hope College is about."

"And if others before us had not done the work that they did, and if the college and others had not supported our research approach, our work would not be possible," he said. "I think this is the culmination of a long tradition and an endorsement of what we plan to do in the future."

A member of the Hope faculty since 1985, DeYoung conducts research in nuclear physics. His work of the past three years has involved studying the way that the neutron "skin" of the "helium 6" isotope affects fusion. His research group collects data at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University, at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California, and then analyzes the information back at Hope.

He values that students are doing the work.

"What we do that's unique is that the undergraduates are doing this," he said. "At Hope College, undergraduate research means cutting-edge science, and I think that to some extent this award recognizes the validity of the science that we do."

DeYoung estimates that some 35 Hope students have worked with him on research projects through the years. They have gone on to careers in a variety of scientific areas. Former students are now researchers, college and university teachers, doctors, engineers and high school teachers, and several are employed at high-tech companies.

DeYoung is himself a product of the Hope experience. He graduated from Hope summa cum laude in 1977. He completed his doctorate at the University of Notre Dame in 1982, and subsequently conducted research at the Nuclear Structure Laboratory, SUNY, before returning to Hope to teach.

His research has received continuous support since 1985 from agencies including the National Science Foundation, Research Corporation and the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. His work has resulted in more than 50 journal articles and more than 50 presentations at professional conferences.

The APS, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999, has more than 40,000 members. The society's activities include programs in physics education and outreach; several regional, divisional and national meetings yearly; and publishing physics research journals, in addition to recognizing professional accomplishment through prizes and awards.

DeYoung will be recognized formally during the society's annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday- Tuesday, April 28-May 1, in Washington, D.C.

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