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Published on Mar 16, 2012
Winner of the 2012 Dickson Prize in Science Professor Marvin L. Cohen describes a few observations about Einstein and his research in condensed matter physics. Einstein had difficulty getting his thesis subject approved despite some excellent proposals, which Cohen discusses. As is well known, Einstein was at the forefront in many fields, but Professor Cohen focuses on condensed matter and quantum physics. In particular, he discusses the background of this area of physics and some recent work in photovoltaics, nanoscience and superconductivity. In the latter field, Einstein suggested that we might never have a theoretical explanation, but Einstein was not always right.
A theoretical condensed matter physicist, Cohen is world-renowned for creating and applying quantum theories to explain and predict the properties of materials. Cohen's research has helped to form the basis for the modern day study of semiconductor physics and nanoscience. Cohen is a University Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has been a member of the physics faculty since 1964.
Dr. Joseph Z. Dickson, a Pittsburgh physician, and his wife, Agnes Fisher Dickson, provided funds in their wills for Carnegie Mellon University to award an annual prize to individuals who make outstanding contributions to science in the United States.