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Mirjam Cvetic Receives Physics Distinguished Alumni Award

Mirjam Cvetic’s impressive career was showcased as Drew Baden, Professor and Chair, presented her with the 2007 Physics Distinguished Alumni Award at the 19th Annual Spring Academic Festival, held on April 20th.

“She holds the prestigious Fay R. and Eugene L. Lagenberg chair in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania,” began Baden. “She has organized several major international conferences and workshops and has authored and co-authored over 235 papers. She is on the Editorial Board of the Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science. She is the Editor of Physics Letters B and is the first woman to serve as an Editor for Physics letters.”

Cvetic’s distinguished career came after years of hard work. As a child in Slovenia, she dreamt of doing research and continued her education to achieve her goals. After receiving her BS and MS, in Physics, at the University of Ljubljana she went on to obtain her Ph.D., at the University of Maryland under Jogesh Pati. Even as a student, she flourished.

“Her work as a graduate student was truly outstanding,” said Pati.

During her years at UMD, she received the Geeta Udagaonkar Memorial Award for the best advanced Ph.D. student.  and the Ralph D. Myers Award for the best first-year graduate student at Maryland.  

“I had wanted to study unification of forces and I met Professor Pati at the International Centre for Theoretical  Physics in Trieste,” said Cvetic. “ I applied to the University of Maryland Physics Graduate Program with the aim to pursue the study of unification of forces under Prof. Patti’s guidance.”

After three years at UMD, Cvetic found the department extremely enjoyable and productive. From 1984-87, she held a Post-doctoral Associate position at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford University. Currently, she is a Professor of Physics at the Department of Physics and Astronomy for the University of Pennsylvania, holding the endowed Fay R. and Eugene L. Langenberg Chair. Her research efforts in theoretical high energy physics, involves focusing on the particle physics and gravitational implications of string theory.

In research, she has established herself as a leader in the field of string/M theory, especially in its applications to black hole physics and particle phenomenology. Her notable contributions include her work on domain walls and black holes in supergravity and superstring theory. Additionally, over the last decade she has made an extensive study of the nature of explicit solutions of string/M theory in four space-time dimensions.

Mirjam credits her relationship with faculty for part of her success. She shares this advice with current students.

”I believe it is important to develop a genuine passion for research projects and to focus on the chosen research subject,” said Cvetic. “I believe that the positive atmosphere among students, and the encouragement and support from the faculty played an important role in my great experience during my graduate years.”

To accompany Cvetic’s list of outstanding accomplishments, Baden revealed what was truly impressive with her work in Maryland.

“Mirjam took a class with Joe Sucher a few years ago,” he said with a smile. “ Joe is a great guy, but he’s tough. And in all his years of teaching, he has rarely given a student an ‘A+’… Mirjam is the only student to receive an ‘A+’ from Joe.”



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