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FSU superconductivity researcher elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Florida State University physicist Lev P. Gor’kov, a distinguished researcher at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences—one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer.

Gor’kov, who is internationally known for his pioneering work in the field of superconductivity, is one of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 14 countries elected by the academy in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The National Academy of Sciences announced the new members following its May 3 meeting.

"This is spectacular news and well deserved," said Gregory S. Boebinger, director of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. "Membership in the National Academy of Sciences is one of the greatest of scientific accolades, and Lev is one of the world’s great scientists."

Gor’kov, the director of the Condensed Matter Theory Program at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, is one of the magnet lab’s founding scientists. The lab is the world’s premier magnet research facility and is operated jointly by Florida State University, the University of Florida and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Kirby W. Kemper, FSU’s vice president for research, said Gor’kov’s presence was an early key to the laboratory’s success.

"When the magnet lab was formed, we were able to hire Robert Schrieffer and Lev Gor’kov, two of the biggest names in theoretical materials science—and they really put us on the map, helping us bring in students and top-notch faculty," he said. "To have the National Academy of Sciences honor Dr. Gor’kov for his five decades of research is really giving him his due."

A native Russian, Gor’kov trained at the Moscow State University and eventually joined the theory group of the Landau Institute in Moscow. His work in superconductivity theory led to a number of conceptual breakthroughs, and he was awarded the Lenin Prize, Russia’s highest award for scientific achievement, in 1966. He left Moscow for the United States in 1992.

In 2004, Gor’kov was the co-recipient of another prestigious scientific award—the Eugene Feenberg Medal, presented at the 12th International Conference on Recent Progress in Many-Body Theories. The Feenberg medal honors researchers who havemadvanced the field of many-body physics. Gor’kov also has received the Landau Award of the Academy of Sciences, USSR; and the John Bardeen Award, presented by the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society for contributions to the science and technology of solidification processing.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to furthering science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by President Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

Gor’kov becomes the eleventh FSU scientist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The other present members are Robert Schrieffer (1971), Michael Kasha (1971), Donald Caspar (1994) and Melvin Stern (1998).

Those elected May 3 bring the academy’s total number of active members to 1,976 and the total number of foreign associates to 360.

More information from Dr. Gor’kov’s NHMFL staff page