Hirschfeld named UF Teacher-Scholar of the Year
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Physics professor Peter Hirschfeld has been awarded the University of Florida Teacher-Scholar of the Year award for 2012-2013.
Originating in 1960, it is the UF’s most prestigious and oldest faculty award. It offers an honorarium of $5,000 in addition to other appropriate recognition. In making the award, the Award Committee selects a faculty member who demonstrates distinguished achievement in both teaching and scholarly activity demonstrated through scholarly research, creative writing, original works of art, etc., and visibility within and beyond the university.
Hirschfeld, along with the winners of the Teacher of the Year Award, Adviser of the Year Award and the college level award winners of the teaching and advising awards, were recognized at a reception hosted by President Bernie and Mrs. Machen on Wednesday.
Hirschfeld joined the UF faculty in 1988 in the department of physics, and has also served as visiting professor for a semester or more at U. Karlsruhe, U. Augsburg, U. Paris-Sud, and Stanford University since then. He has supervised 10 doctoral students and taught physics at all levels.
Hirschfeld has devoted most of his research to the theory of superconductivity since then. The “holy grail” of this field is to find or design materials which can conduct electricity entirely without electrical resistance at room temperature.
Superconductivity is a physical phenomenon that relies on the remarkable quantum mechanical behavior of many electrons in a solid, which under special circumstances behave collectively like a single giant atom. Were materials which superconduct at room temperature to be discovered, it would revolutionize electrical power transmission, transportation and magnet technology, and save enormous quantities of energy.
Hirschfeld’s research has been devoted to understanding how superconductivity works in two new classes of materials, cuprates and iron-pnictides, and has been reported in more than 170 publications with nearly 6,000 citations. He was awarded the Friedrich-Bessel Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2001, and made a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2004.
For more information on the universitywide awards and past winners, go to http://www.aa.ufl.edu/awards