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UT Arlington physics professor wins esteemed Humboldt Research Award

Friday, June 26, 2015

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: science

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A University of Texas at Arlington physics researcher has won the international Humboldt Research Award for his exploration of extra-solar planetary systems, the origin of dark matter and dark energy, black holes and formulation of fundamental theories of physics.

Musielak, 3rd from left, with the mayor of Kalisz, fellow Honorary Citizen award recipient Josef Wilkomirski, and the chair of the city counsel, from left, during a June 12 ceremony in Kalisz, Poland.

This is the third time that Zdzislaw Musielak, a professor in the College of Science, has been honored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He previously received the Humboldt Prize in 1997 and 2010, an award that honors internationally renowned scientists and scholars.

“I was very nicely surprised as the third-time awards are extremely hard to get,” Musielak said. “Very strong endorsements from German institutions are required in order to be even considered, and I'm very pleased that I received such strong support.

He added: “The Humboldt Research Award is typically bestowed in recognition of a researcher’s entire achievements to date, and to one who is expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future. This award gives a tremendous boost to my research work here as well.”

Ronald Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the honor brings international prestige to UT Arlington. “It also enhances our reputation as a leading research institution committed to using data-driven discovery to uncover the mysteries of the universe around us.” 

The award allows recipients to work on a research project of their choosing in Germany, together with a host and collaborative partner. Musielak will spend this summer as well as the next two summers in Germany, with his research activities fully supported by the Humboldt Foundation.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me as it allows me to work directly with world-top scientists at German institutions of my choice,” Musielak said. His research while in Germany will be concentrated on three different topics: tornado-like structures on the Sun; habitable exoplanets and exomoons; and new theories for dark matter and dark energy.

Alexander Weiss, professor and chair of the UT Arlington Department of Physics, commended his colleague and said, “This prestigious award, which Dr. Musielak has received for the nearly unprecedented third time, is in recognition of his truly international reputation and the high level of esteem with which his research is regarded.”  

Musielak was honored on June 12 by his hometown of Kalisz, Poland, with its highest honor, the Honorary Citizen award. Musielak received the award at a ceremony in Kalisz, considered by many to be the oldest city in Poland. The ceremony was attended by almost 500 people, including city and state officials and Polish government representatives. Musielak and Polish violinist/composer Josef Wilkomirski were this year’s recipients; Polish President Bronisław Komorowski was presented with the award last year.

“The award has a very special meaning to me as it was given to me by the city where I was born,” Musielak said.

On June 11 Musielak gave a public lecture on “Mysteries of the Universe,” followed by a question-and-answer session, at Kalisz City Hall. The lecture, sponsored by the Kalisz mayor’s office, drew an audience of more than 300 people.

Musielak came to UT Arlington as a visiting professor in 1998 and joined the faculty as a full professor the following year. Previously he spent 10 years as a physics faculty member at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Gdansk, Poland in 1980.

--Written by Greg Pederson

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 50,600 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at http://www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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