January 15, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- Research Corporation has presented Amherst College with a Cottrell College Science Award worth $36, 604 in support of assistant physics professor Jonathan R. Friedman's "Investigation of resonant magnetization tunneling in molecular magnets via transverse-field AC susceptibility" project. Friedman received one of only 20 awards; Amherst College has received two Cottrell Science Awards in the past two years.

Friedman studies the property of "tunneling," which enables single-molecule magnets to reverse polar direction even when there is not enough thermal energy to allow the process to happen classically. Using the new grant, he will to try to control this tunneling process through the application of a transverse magnetic field, a field perpendicular to the North-South axis of the magnet. Applying this field should increase the rate at which the molecules flip direction.

After receiving a B.A. from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in physics from City College of New York, Friedman came to Amherst in 2001. He is perhaps best known for his work with colleagues at SUNY-Stony Brook on a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID). Their SQUID was the first example on a macroscopic scale of a "quantum superposition," a state in which an object can be in each of two states at the same time.

The Cottrell College Science Award is meant to support significant fundamental research in astronomy, chemistry and physics done by both faculty and students. It is one of several awards given by Research Corporation, a private foundation that aids basic research in the physical sciences at U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities. It supports ideas independently proposed by college and university faculty members and is not itself involved in the performance of laboratory research. The Research Corporation has a Web site at http://www.rescorp.org/.