Ran wins NSF CAREER award

Sheng Ran

Sheng Ran, an assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University In St. Louis, won a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation for his project “Discovery and Characterization of Strongly Correlated Topological Materials.” This highly competitive award is reserved for junior faculty who successfully combine research with mentoring and education.

The grant will support Ran in his continued work to find quantum materials with special characteristics that could be useful for next-generation electronics. He is particularly interested in finding topological materials, which have surface properties that are different than the substance underneath.

Specifically, he’s looking for topological materials that are also strongly correlated, which means that the electrons within the materials interact with each other. That additional parameter makes the system far too complicated to envision through calculations alone, Ran said.

“No one can easily predict which topological materials are also strongly correlated,” he said. “That’s where experimentalists come in.”

Read more in The Ampersand.

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