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UH Manoa Physics Professor Wins Prestigious National Award from U.S. Department of Energy

Kirill Melnikov named

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Aug 21, 2003

Kirill Melnikov, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has been designated an "Outstanding Junior Investigator" by the U.S. Department of Energy Division of High Energy Physics. The honor includes a continuing grant, starting at $65,000 per year, to support Melnikov‘s research, and is based on an annual nationwide competition between pre-tenured faculty in all universities involved in high energy physics.

Melnikov is recognized this year amongst six other recipients—Mina Aganagic of the University of Washington, Richard Gaitskell of Brown University, David Kaplan of Johns Hopkins University, Mark Messier of Indiana University, Kate Scholberg of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Witold Skiba of Yale University.

"Recipients of this prestigious award are usually from top universities like Harvard, Princeton, and MIT, and the fact that this year Kirill is one of them confirms that he is regarded as one of the most promising young people in our field," said Steve Olsen, UH Mānoa physics professor and principal investigator of the UH High Energy Physics Group.

Melnikov‘s award follows on the heels of experimental physicist and UH Mānoa associate professor of physics Peter Gorham‘s designation as an Outstanding Junior Investigator last year. Only Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, have had back-to-back recipients of the Outstanding Junior Investigator award since the award program started.

"This recognition of our most recent recruits in both theoretical and experimental physics is clear evidence that the Hawaiʻi high energy physics group now ranks with the very best in the country. Moreover, with such talented young people, we can look forward to great things in the future," said Olsen.

The Outstanding Junior Investigator Program in High Energy Physics was started in 1978 with a principal purpose of identifying exceptionally talented new high energy physicists early in their careers, and to assist and facilitate the development of their research programs. Each year since the program began, between five and 10 new Outstanding Junior Investigators have been recognized for a total of 185 awardees since the program‘s inception. Awards made under the program help to maintain the vitality of university research and assure continued excellence in the teaching of physics.

Melnikov, whose research interest is particle physics phenomenology, received his bachelor‘s and master‘s degrees from Novosibirsk State University in Russia and his doctorate from Mainz University in Germany. He came to UH Mānoa in 2002 from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, a national laboratory operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Stanford University.