RIT’s Moumita Das elected as American Physical Society fellow

Fellowship program recognizes those with exceptional contributions to physics

Elizabeth Lamark/RIT

RIT Professor Moumita Das has been an elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Moumita Das, from the School of Physics and Astronomy, has been elected an American Physical Society Fellow for her exceptional contributions to physics.

The APS Fellowship Program was created to recognize members who have made advances in physics through original research and publication, innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology, or teaching or service in the activities of the organization. No more than one half of 1 percent of the APS membership, excluding students, is recognized with fellowship. Only four people from Das’s field worldwide were elected this year for the award, all via peer nomination.

“I was really happy to be appreciated and recognized by my peers,” said Das. “To me, this honor resonates more deeply than any other accolades, as it’s an affirmation from those who are familiar with my work.”

Das was nominated by APS Division of Soft Matter for fundamental mechanistic insights into the collective properties and rigidity transitions in multi-component biological and bio-inspired soft materials, and for contributions to building an inclusive and diverse soft matter community.

Her work as a theoretical soft matter and biological physicist focuses on the interplay of statistical physics, mechanics, structure, and organization in cells and tissues.

Das has mentored many students across all levels of education, including many fellow women and minorities who have gone on to work in prestigious academic institutions or non-academic research positions. Her undergraduate mentee Ashley Lasko received the 2022-2023 RIT Norman A. Miles Award for Excellence in Academic Study while Das received the Norman A. Miles Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching as her mentor the same year. Lasko is now a Ph.D. student at the University of California, San Francisco. Das’s graduate mentee Lauren Melcher defended her Ph.D. thesis in September 2023 and is now a senior scientist at Pfizer.

“In addition to my research, I’m really proud of my research mentees,” added Das. “They have gone on to be very, very successful.”

RIT now boasts four APS Fellows. Along with Das, Manuela Campanelli was recognized in 2009, Carlos Lousto in 2012, and Scott Franklin in 2012.

The APS’s mission is to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics for the benefit of humanity, promote physics, and serve the broader physics community. The Society was founded in 1899 and started the Fellowship Program in 1921.

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