In recognition of their outstanding contributions to physics, UC Santa Barbara faculty members W. Patrick McCray and Leon Balents have been elected Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). Their names and citations will appear in the March issue of APS News.
McCray, professor of history, was cited for his “outstanding scholarship on the history of modern physical sciences that explores relations between experts, amateurs, and enthusiasts, and for his service to the scholarly community, including institution-building and sustained public outreach.”
McCray is a specialist in post-1945 and contemporary science and technology. He is the author of several books and essays, including “The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future” (Princeton University Press, 2012), which that year received the annual Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature; “Keep Watching the Skies! The Story of Operation Moonwatch & the Dawn of the Space Age” (Princeton University Press, 2008); and “Giant Telescopes: Astronomical Ambitions and the Promise of Technology” (Harvard University Press, 2004).
McCray is also a member of the executive committee of UCSB’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society.
Balents is a professor of physics and a permanent member of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB. He was cited by the APS for “the theory of new topological quantum phases of electrons in condensed matter. His research interests include the theory of correlated electronic systems, frustrated and quantum magnetism, transition metal oxides in bulk and heterostructures, quantum criticality, exotic phases of matter and low-dimensional structures.