Press Release

UA Physicist WIns Top Prize for Young Greek Scientists

By SpaceRef Editor
February 14, 2005
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A University of Arizona physicist has won the most prestigious award Greece
gives to young Greek scientists under age 40.

Dimitrios Psaltis, 34, a UA assistant professor of physics, has received
the 2005 Academic Prize in Science from the Bodossaki Foundation.

The next president of Greece, to be elected in March, will present the
prize to Psaltis in Athens on June 15. Psaltis is the third physicist to
win the award, which includes a cash prize of 20,500 Euros (about

Psaltis was notified of his award by an early morning phone call. “I was
very surprised and happy,” he said. He said he hasn’t yet decided how he’ll
use the prize money.

Psaltis’ research focuses on understanding the enigmatic properties of the
X-ray emission of black holes and neutron stars and on testing Einstein’s
theory of General Relativity. His theoretical work is closely related to
observations made with NASA’s X-ray satellites, such has the Chandra X-ray
Observatory and the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer.

UA physics department head Daniel Stein said Psaltis’s work “contributes in
a vital way to the ongoing excellence of theoretical astrophysics research
in the physics department, and more generally at the University of Arizona.
It covers an important and exciting area of astrophysics—the study of
rapid time variations in the physical characteristics of compact objects,
such as neutron stars and stellar-sized black holes. His work on neutron
stars and black hole X-ray binaries is perceived to alter the basic
paradigm in this field.

“Dimitrios’ research focuses not only on fundamental astrophysical issues,
but also on tests of the general theory of relativity,” Stein aid. “Despite
the fact that the theory is almost 100 years old, there remain relatively
few experimental tests of its validity, compared to other theories of so
fundamental a stature. Part of the reason is that most tests rely either on
extreme conditions or on exquisitely sensitive measurements.”

Psaltis joined the UA in January 2003, he said, “because the UA has one of
the best astrophysics programs in the country.” He currently advises three
graduate students and one senior student at the University.

Psaltis graduated from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki in 1992. He
obtained his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
in 1998. Since then, he has been a fellow of the Smithsonian Institution at
Harvard University, a post-doctoral fellow at MIT, and a long-term member
at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

Psaltis and his wife, Feryal Ozel, who also is a UA assistant professor of
physics, have a 10-month-old daughter, Deniz Alexia.

Psaltis was born in Serres, a small town about 50 miles north of
Thessaloniki, Greece. His parents, his sister and her family, and the rest
of his extended family still live in Greece.

The Bodossaki Foundation was established in 1973 by Greek philanthropist
Prodromos Athanassiadis, known as Bodossakis. The award was established in

* * *A downloadable photo of Psaltis and more University of Arizona science
news is online @ * * *

SpaceRef staff editor.