Physics professor Sandip Pakvasa receives Humboldt Research Award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Sandip Pakvasa, (808) 956-2970
Professor, Physics and Astronomy
Tom Browder, (808) 956 2936
Professor, Physics and Astronomy
Posted: Dec 3, 2012

Physics Professor Sandip Pakvasa
Physics Professor Sandip Pakvasa
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Physics Professor Sandip Pakvasa has received a prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Award. This will allow Pakvasa to travel to Germany to continue on-going collaboration with colleagues. Pakvasa is one of the world's leading experts on neutrinos and heavy quarks in elementary particle physics.  
Pakvasa, author of over 340 scientific publications, has proposed a number of experiments that have been carried out at international particle physics laboratories.
Neutrinos are ethereal and mysterious elementary particles that interact only by the weak interaction and hence pass freely through the earth and only rarely interact. In a 2005 paper Pakvasa, with Tom Weiler of Vanderbilt University and Heinrich Paes a German colleague who was then working in the Hawaiʻi theoretical physics group, made the intriguing suggestion that there are extra unseen spatial dimensions in which only neutrinos can travel. Their picture has testable implications and allows for many interesting phenomena, including the possibility that neutrinos may appear to travel super-luminally and yet not violate Einstein's relativity theory.
Proton and neutrons are composed of up and down quarks. Heavy quarks, which are produced in atom smashers and cosmic rays, include the charm and beauty quarks. Pakvasa's seminal papers on matter-antimatter asymmetry (a.k.a. "CP violation") for these quarks played an important supporting role in the 2008 Nobel Physics prize shared by Japanese scientists Kobayashi and Maskawa. Pakvasa, who with  Hirotaka Sugawara had written the earliest paper examining phenomenological implications of the Kobayashi-Maskawa proposal, attended the 2008 ceremony in Stockholm as a guest of Kobayashi.
Several members of UH Mānoa's Institute of Astronomy (IFA) have previously received Humboldt Awards. Pakvasa's is the first in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
The awards and other activities of the Humboldt Foundation (Stiftung in German) are described at Forty-nine Humboldt Foundation award recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.

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