Rakich wins 2015 Packard Fellowship

Peter T. Rakich, assistant professor of applied physics and physics, has been awarded a 2015 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, one of the largest nongovernmental fellowships in the United States.

Peter R. Rakich

Rakich will receive $875,000 over five years to fund his research, which takes an innovative approach to understanding the interaction of light and matter in extreme conditions. Rakich’s fellowship was announced Oct. 15, along with 17 other fellowships for promising, early-career scientists.

“The Packard Fellowship is really the most competitive and prestigious early career award in science and engineering,” according A. Douglas Stone, the former chair of the Department of Applied Physics. “The award represents great recognition of the creativity of Peter’s research program. It also continues a remarkable streak of success for Yale’s Department of Applied Physics, which now has five former or current Packard Fellows among its primary faculty.”

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation established the fellowships in 1988. Each year, the foundation invites 50 universities to nominate two faculty members for consideration in the following disciplines — physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, astronomy, computer science, earth science, ocean science, and all branches of engineering.

The fellowships are intended to afford recipients the chance to pursue their research with few funding restrictions and limited reporting requirements.

In his work, Rakich delves into ways of understanding and harnessing the power of phonons, the quantum particles of sound, and getting them to interact strongly with light. Rakich uses a combination of theory, uniquely designed microstructured devices, and materials physics studies in his research, setting a foundation for a range of powerful, new quantum phenomena, with a variety of potential, practical uses.

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