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  • Physicists Share Buckley Prize
Nov 2005
WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 -- Noel Clark, a physics professor at University of Colorado at Boulder, and Robert Meyer, a physics professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., were named recipients of the American Physical Society's 2006 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize, given for research in condensed matter physics, in recognition of their work in liquid crystals.
The condensed matter field -- the largest within physics -- involves the study of the properties of liquids, solids and the "in-between" liquid crystal phases. Clark and Meyer worked together on liquid crystal research during the 1970s. They were recognized for "groundbreaking experimental and theoretical contributions to the fundamental science and applications of liquid crystals, particularly their ferroelectric and chiral properties." Sixteen of the 73 past Buckley Prize recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prizes in physics or chemistry.

Clark is also director of the Liquid Crystal Materials Research Center at CU-Boulder. In 1984 he co-founded Displaytech Inc., a Longmont producer of ferroelectric liquid crystal devices and materials, including microdisplays for camcorders and digital cameras. Much of his research has been focused on the physics and applications of ferroelectric liquid crystals. He is credited with developing electro-optic light valves in the mid-1980s. The devices use a ferroelectric liquid crystal between closely spaced glass plates and do all the things liquid crystals do, but much faster. The groundbreaking findings made it possible to use ferroelectric liquid crystals in commercial devices.

Meyer’s research has addressed a wide variety of topics involving the physics of liquid crystals and the exploration of novel soft materials based on them, focusing on chirality, electrical polarization, textures and defect structures, phase transitions and responses to applied fields. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

The $10,000 Buckley prize was first endowed in 1952 by AT&T Bell Laboratories and is named after Oliver E. Buckley, an influential president of Bell Labs. It will be presented at the American Physical Society's 2006 national meeting, to be held in March in Baltimore.

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