Vittorio Paolone and Andrew Mugler, both Pitt physicists, recently earned significant prizes from the American Physics Society.

The W.K.H. Panofsky Prize, which acknowledges advances in experimental particle physics, was awarded to Paolone and his team, a physics professor. The award is given out once a year and consists of $10,000, a travel allowance for receiving the award, and a diploma recognizing the recipient’s efforts.

Paolone worked at the Fermi Nuclear Accelerator Laboratory with other scientists to explore neutrinos, a small, neutral, and subatomic particle. Paolone and his colleagues earned the Panofsky Prize for their work in the early 2000s, when they used an experiment Paolone helped build to detect the tau neutrino, a negatively charged subatomic particle.

Mugler, an associate professor of physics, and his colleagues were honored with the Irwin Oppenheim Award, which honors articles published in the Physical Review E. A $3,000 stipend, a certificate, travel reimbursement to the APS March meeting, and an invitation to speak at the conference are all part of the prize, which is given out every year.

Mugler’s team released a paper in 2020 explaining the “critical point” of a cell, which physicists believe can control various biological processes. The study of the “critical point,” according to Mugler, is a “compelling tale.”

“But I don’t believe anybody truly laid down that question in a quantifiable sense before this research,” Mugler added. “Then we took it a step further and applied it to instances that are more realistic for cells.”

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