The University of Utah
Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah

Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize

Efros

Distinguished emeritus professor Alexei Efros

Distinguished emeritus professor Alexei Efros has received the 2019 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize by the American Physical Society (APS). The award recognizes outstanding theoretical or experimental contributions to condensed matter physics and is named in honor of Oliver Ellsworth Buckley, a former president of Bell Labs.  Efros shares the award with colleague Boris Shklovskii, a theoretical physicist at the William I. Fine Theoretical Physics Institute at the University of Minnesota, and Elihu Abrahams, distinguished adjunct professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA

Born in Leningrad, Russia, now St. Petersburg, Efros obtained a master’s degree from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute in 1961 and a Ph.D. in physics a year later from the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute. In 1986, he received the Landau Prize in theoretical physics from the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1989 as a visiting professor and distinguished scholar at the University of California, Riverside. He moved to the University of Utah in 1991 and became a distinguished professor in 1994.

The Buckley award citation reads: “For pioneering research in the physics of disordered materials and hopping conductivity.” The main achievements of the Efros–Shklovskii collaboration are the theory of the hopping conductivity of semiconductors, based upon the percolation approach and the prediction of the Coulomb Gap in the electronic density of states. The Coulomb Gap is demonstrated in the specific temperature dependence of the hopping conductivity and in the specific voltage dependence of the tunneling current from the semiconductor to metal.

Efros became an APS fellow in 1992 for his work on the theory of transport in disordered systems. In 1997, he received the Humboldt Prize from Germany and the Lady Davis Fellowship from Israel. In 2015, he returned to Russia and taught at the Academic University of St. Petersburg from 2015-2018. He lives in Salt Lake City.

“Alexei Efros is a pioneer in the field of disordered systems,” said Mikhail Raikh, professor of physics and astronomy at the U, and a friend and colleague to Efros since their days in St. Petersburg. “His work on the problem of hopping conductivity and insulator-metal transition was groundbreaking, and his models are still used to today. We are so proud he has received this award.”

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