AWARDS: Đorđe Minić, winner of the “Marko Jaric” prize

Prof. Dr Marko V. Jaric Foundation has presented the eponymous prize, dubbed ‘The Serbian Nobel Prize in Physics’ in domestic media, for 2020 to Djordje Minic, a professor of Virginia Tech for outstanding scientific achievements in physics.

The winner was announced in an online event held on 17 March 2021, which is Marko Jaric’s birthday.

The jury consisting of Prof. Dr Voja Radovanovic, a full professor of the Faculty of Physics at the University of Belgrade, Dr Branislav Cvetkovic, a principal research fellow at the Institute of Physics, Belgrade and Dr Branislav Sazdovic, a retired principal research fellow at the Institute of Physics, Belgrade has nominated Dr Minic for the Prize, having in mind that he is one of the world’s leading experts in the field of string theory and quantum gravity, with an accent on the problems in spaces with a positive value of the cosmological constant.

During the Prize Award Ceremony, on behalf of the Prof. Dr Marko V. Jaric Foundation, the participants were welcomed by Prof. Dr Petar Adzic. He said that the Foundation had been founded 23 years ago to preserve the memory of ‘brilliant work and the personality of a physician whose work is, unfortunately, more renowned abroad than in Serbia’. He observed that Marko Jaric had made the greatest contribution to the field of condensed matter physics, and he was a rare talent who possessed tremendous mathematical knowledge and carved out a short but brilliant scientific career. ‘Today we are announcing the twentieth laureate and the condition is that the winner’s results have made an impact on world physics.’

Greeting the participants on behalf of the Management Board of the Foundation, Dr Aleksandar Belic reminded that the Management Board had accepted the nomination of the expert jury consisting of the above-mentioned scholars to award Professor Minic.

Dr Branislav Sazdovic read the Jury’s report explicating that Djordje Minic was awarded for ‘outstanding contribution to string theory and quantum gravity theory.’ The report states that Dr Minic is one of the leading experts in these fields and that he has worked in all major string theory development directions for the last 25 years, being also one of the founders of the new string theory (metastring theory). ‘Dr Minic has had a successful cooperation with more than 80 scholars in the field of theoretical physics while actively collaborating with experimental physicists also’, said Dr Sazdovic, adding that Dr Minic has published 109 papers in international journals and regularly keeps in touch with the researchers from Serbia.

Dr Aleksandar Bogojevic expressed congratulations on behalf of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade which, as the Prize’s sponsor, also participates logistically and financially. ‘I would like to congratulate you on the Prize which has been the most prestigious in science in our country but not in physics alone. The idea of preservation of Dr Jaric’s memory is a beautiful one, but this Prize transcends it all with its significance’, stated Dr Bogojevic. ‘The Institute of Physics is the first national institute of the Republic of Serbia, and as such it has accepted the duties related to the social relevance of our science,’ said Dr Bogojevic.

During the Prize Award Ceremony, the participants were also addressed by the state secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development Dr Ivica Radovic who congratulated Dr Minic on behalf of the Ministry. ‘It is my pleasure to be with physicists today. Being a former student of the Faculty of Sciences, it brings back memories, said Dr Radović, adding: ‘Long live the winner, long live the Prize and the memory of Dr Marko Jaric!’

Finally, participants were addressed by Professor Djordje Minic who expressed this thanks to the Foundation and the members of the Jury for the remarkable acknowledgement declaring ‘this prize is a great honour’. Professor Minic then gave a short presentation on his work, stating that quantum gravity as one of the key areas of research of modern science, is in fact ‘gravitational quantum physics’ and that owing to the new insights it provides in understanding the Universe, we are about to embark on an exciting decade in physics.

FROM THE LAUREATE’S BIOGRAPHY

Djordje Minic was born in 1964 in Smederevska Palanka. He studied at the Department of Technical Physics at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Belgrade, followed by doctoral studies he enrolled in at the University of Texas at Austen in 1988, in the group of the Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg. He received his PhD in 1993 under the supervision of Professor Joseph Polchinski, one of the leading scientists in string theory and quantum field theory in the last thirty years.

Dr Minic has spent the last two decades employed at Virginia Tech University where he has been a full professor since 2014.

Together with Laurent Freidel (Perimeter Institute) and Rob Leigh (Urbana), Professor Minić has proposed a new formulation of quantum gravity – metastring theory. This theory is thoroughly connected to the foundations of the quantum field theory.

Prof. Minic has been engaged in the foundation aspects of quantum physics, analytic quantum chromodynamics, neutrino physics, black holes and wormholes. He has made a substantial contribution in the field of cosmology by the formulation of theories on modified dark matter and the new fundamental dark matter theory.

Истраживање проф. Минића обухвата и примене формализма развијеног у области теорије струна и квантне теорије поља на различите системе у области физике кондензованог стања материје, статистичке физике и теорије флуида.

The research of Prof. Minic also encompasses the application of formalism developed in string theory and quantum field theory in various systems in the field of condensed matter, statistical physics and fluid theory. Throughout his career, he has actively published papers in leading international journals.