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McMahon, Ramshaw named CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

Peter McMahon, assistant professor of applied and engineering physics in the College of Engineering, and Brad Ramshaw, the Dick & Dale Reis Johnson Assistant Professor of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, have been named CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars.

CIFAR’s global scholars program supports outstanding early-career researchers through mentorship, an international network and professional skills development. The scholars also receive $100,000 CAD in unrestricted research support for two years.

McMahon and Ramshaw are among 13 recipients who were selected from 184 applications from 31 countries. The 2020-22 scholars represent academic institutions in Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Cornell is the only university with more than one scholar in this year’s cohort.

In addition to funding emerging projects in interdisciplinary theme areas such as Life and Health, and Information and Matter, the program also helps the researchers connect with their peers.

“I’m looking forward to the regular meetings that CIFAR organizes as part of this program – these seem like outstanding venues at which to form connections with both junior and senior researchers within my own area of quantum information science, and across disciplines,” said McMahon, whose lab works on building quantum computers with photons.

“Already it has become clear that I will get to interact with a much broader part of the academic community than I would otherwise,“ he said, “and I hope my research ultimately benefits from my exposure to alternative approaches and perspectives.”

For Ramshaw, whose research group uses extreme magnetic fields to learn how quantum mechanics can be manipulated and harnessed in new materials, the award is the latest development in a long association with CIFAR, a global research organization based in Canada.

“As a Ph.D. student in Canada, I grew up in the CIFAR program – I went to the meetings, organized a summer school and met many future collaborators there,” he said. “I’m excited to join the quantum materials program again, now as a junior Global Scholar, and to work with some of the world’s top leaders in the fields of correlated electron systems and topology.”

Ramshaw is using the CIFAR funds to develop a new type of acoustic interferometry – in which sound is sent through a superconductor in two different directions – that can detect broken symmetry with extremely high precision.

“I hope that my students will get as much out of the program as I did,” he said.

The awards are offered to researchers anywhere in the world who hold a Ph.D. and are in the first five years of a full-time academic position. Their research interests must align with the CIFAR research program’s interdisciplinary theme areas.

CIFAR’s scholars program is funded by the Azrieli Foundation with additional support provided by the Love Family Leadership Development Fund, as well as other individuals, corporations and foundations.

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli