Chang Kee Jung, a renowned professor and head in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been chosen to win the American Physical Society’s Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize for 2022. Professor Jung will receive the Lilienfeld Prize at the APS Medal & Prizes Ceremony in Washington, DC on January 27, 2022.
The Lilienfeld Prize honors a single individual who has made significant contributions to physics while simultaneously excelling at lecturing to a wide range of audiences. Professor Jung is being honored for his excellent accomplishments and leadership in experimental neutrino physics, as well as for his great teaching and outreach, particularly in sports physics.
Professor Jung’s tremendous research contributions to the field of physics, great teaching, and important work in our community are recognized by the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize, according to Maurie McInnis, president of Stony Brook University. “His numerous accomplishments represent the high standards to which our Department of Physics and Astronomy has adhered from its inception, when Nobel Laureate physicist CN Yang joined our fledgling university. Congratulations to Professor Jung on his many successes throughout the years, as well as his ongoing commitment to public education and the countless students who have benefited from his guidance.”
In the field of particle physics, Jung is one of the world’s foremost experts on neutrino oscillations, which occur when a neutrino of one type can change into one of a different type, a phenomenon that could be crucial to understanding the current universe’s matter-antimatter imbalance, which is thought to have occurred shortly after the Big Bang. Neutrinos are similar to electrons in appearance but vary in two important ways: they do not carry an electric charge and have extremely small masses.
In the Grand Unification Theories, proton decay is a theorized sort of decay in which the proton decays into lighter subatomic particles. He founded the Nucleon Decay and Neutrino (NN) research group at Stony Brook to explore neutrino properties and look for evidence of proton decays. The NN group was involved in the experiments that led to the historic neutrino oscillation discovery.
These breakthroughs earned them a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015 for the discovery of neutrino oscillations on behalf of partner professor Takaaki Kajita, as well as a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2016 for future research. Jung was a worldwide co-spokesperson for the T2K Experiment and a member of the leadership team for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which aimed to learn more about the physical cosmos by studying neutrinos.
Professor Takashi Kobayashi, J-PARC director and collaborator with Professor Jung on the Super-Kamiokande, K2K, and T2K studies, remarked, “I am extremely glad to hear that Chang Kee earned this very important honor.” “I had a great time working with Chang Kee as the T2K collaboration’s spokespeople during the highly exciting era of the first discovery. Recovering from the damage caused by the major earthquake in 2011 and restarting the experiment within a year was also a difficult and trying phase. Chang Kee demonstrated outstanding leadership in achieving those objectives. I am confident that we would not have been able to achieve the big discovery and recovery without his invaluable assistance. Congratulations!”
“It’s excellent that professor Chang Kee Jung was awarded the Lilienfeld Prize by the American Physical Society,” Kajita, who is also one of the Super-Kamiokande collaboration’s leaders, stated. “Professor Jung has contributed considerably to the Super-Kamiokande, K2K, and T2K experiments for more than 25 years, all of which have played critical roles in the advancement of neutrino physics.” I’m particularly thrilled to see that his dedication to education and public outreach has been honored with this award.”
Since 2003, Jung has also developed and taught a course called The Physics of Sports, and has become a “go to” person for media requests in sports physics. Following the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he collaborated with Stony Brook alumnus Bedel Saget ’88, graphics/multimedia Editor for The New York Times, on multiple presentations to the university community about the physics of sports, using innovative feats of athletes as examples, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.
“Congratulations to Chang Kee Jung on earning the J.E. Lilienfeld Prize in Physics in 2022 for his remarkable contributions to Physics and exceptional talents in lecturing to varied audiences,” said Saget, who is also the past president of the Stony Brook Alumni Association (2017-19). “As a visual sports journalist for The New York Times, I frequently have to explain the physics of various sporting exploits, and professor Chang Kee Jung, or C.K. as he is affectionately known in the Stony Brook community, is frequently one of the first specialists I consult.” He’s a fantastic communicator with an uncanny ability to make even the most complex concepts clear. He has the ability to make accessible allusions to even the most difficult of principles, and his intelligent insights have helped to make my work more impactful and entertaining for our audience.”
Jung has known since he was six years old that he wanted to be a professor when he grew up. He knew he wanted to be a particle physicist since he was 11 years old.
“I generally stuck to my life plan since it was all a philosophical journey to have a greater understanding of the universe,” he explained. “We have helped others learn more about the cosmos through my collaborations and research; that was my main purpose when I became a professor.”
Jung enjoys teaching at a public institution because he grew up in a disadvantaged South Korean country and obtained his bachelor’s degree from a public university in Seoul.
“I admire Stony Brook’s various facets of diversity, particularly its socioeconomic diversity, which includes many first-generation college students,” he remarked. “I feel like I’m building a genuine connection with my kids and having a great impact on them when I teach.”
“What a fantastic choice for the Lilienfeld Prize,” commented Barry Barish, a physics professor at Caltech and the University of California Riverside, former president of the American Physical Society, 2017 Nobel Laureate in Physics, and longtime friend and colleague of Professor Jung. “Whether it’s talking about sports physics or neutrinos, climbing or jumping off mountains, yodeling or composing music, Chang Kee is incredibly enthusiastic about sharing it all with young people.”
Jung got his BS in Physics from Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea, and his PhD in Physics from Indiana University, with a focus on Experimental High Energy Physics. He is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and American Physical Society (APS) fellow (APS). Jung has received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity, an Outstanding Faculty Award from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Academy of Teacher-Scholar Award from Stony Brook University, and the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring by a Faculty Member, in addition to numerous shared awards with Super-Kamiokande, K2K, and T2K.