Physicist Kate Ross wins 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize

kate rossColorado State University Assistant Professor of Physics Kate Ross has been awarded the Oxford Instruments 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson (LOR) Science Prize for North and South America.

Ross is recognized for her research in elucidation of exotic magnetic ground states and ground state selection in quantum frustrated magnets, using neutron scattering techniques at low temperatures and in high magnetic fields. The LOR Science Prize selection committee recognized the comprehensive nature of the studies led by Ross, an early-career researcher who  has had major impact in the field of quantum and frustrated magnetism.

“It truly is an honor to be the recipient of this award,” Ross said. “Exploring quantum magnetic phenomena in materials has been a difficult, exciting, and diverse subject. I am particularly lucky that I have had many great collaborators and work within a supportive community. It’s a great honor to receive the Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize recognizing this work.”

Ross has championed a large body of experimental work that established what scientists now know about a set of quantum frustrated pyrochlore magnets. During her Ph.D. at McMaster University, she grew large single crystals of rare earth titanate pyrochlores, appropriate for neutron scattering measurements, and carried out sophisticated time-of-flight neutron scattering measurements at dilution refrigerator temperatures and in magnetic fields up to 8 Tesla. This single-crystal, inelastic neutron scattering work, carried out from 2008 to 2012, was among the first to fully characterize a four-dimensional dataset to fit the high magnetic field spin excitation spectrum to linear spin wave theory.

Ross also played a key leadership role in both the experiments and the manipulation of the datasets in a program of neutron and X-ray diffraction measurements in very high, pulsed magnetic fields. These challenging experiments were carried out in a collaboration between the McMaster group and Hidenori Nojiri at Tohoku University, Garrett Granroth  at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Zahir Islam at Argonne National Laboratory. The work resulted in two Physical Review Letters and instrument development papers and resulted in Ross giving two invited talks on the work.

Her topical body of work has attracted international interest and significant recognitions. Five years past her Ph.D., she has 37 lifetime publications and an h-index of 21 (Google Scholar). She was awarded the 2017 George Valley Jr. Prize from the American Physical Society for outstanding early career contributions in any area of physics, the first female physicist to be recognized. Earlier, she was awarded the 2014 Alice Wilson Award from the Royal Society of Canada for early career excellence by a Canadian female scientist in any area of science. In 2016, Ross was appointed a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar within the Quantum Materials Program.

The objective of the LOR Science Prize is to promote and recognize the novel work of young scientists in the fields of low temperatures and/or high magnetic fields or surface science in North America. Oxford Instruments is aware that there is a critical and often difficult stage for many between completing a Ph.D. and gaining a permanent research position. The company has therefore been helping individuals who are producing innovative work by offering assistance both financially and through promotion of their research work, through sponsoring the LOR Science Prize for North America for research in physical science.

The Prize is named in honor of Professors David M. Lee, Douglas D. Osheroff and the late Robert C. Richardson, joint recipients of The Nobel Prize in Physics 1996 “for their discovery of superfluidity in helium-3.”

Assistant Professor Ross will be presented with the LOR Science Prize at a special event “Socialize with Science” sponsored by Oxford Instruments, during the International Conference on Highly Frustrated Magnetism, Davis, CA, in July.