Dr Stevan Nađ-Perge of the California Institute of Technology received the prestigious prize of ‘Prof. Dr Marko V. Jarić’ Foundation. As cited in the Jury’s statement, the Marko Jarić Prize, dubbed the Serbian Nobel in Physics by the domestic media, was awarded to Dr Nadj-Perge for his outstanding scientific achievement in the studying of graphene-based nanomaterials.
The prize has been awarded to physicists from Serbia and the diaspora for more than two decades, and this year it was officially presented through the Zoom platform. However, as tradition requires, it is expected from the laureate to give a lecture at the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade, as well as a colloquium at the Institute of Physics, Belgrade, as soon as the circumstances would allow it.
One of the youngest recipients of the prestigious award Stevan Nađ-Perge, PhD, has been an assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology since 2016. He is a winner of the National Science Foundation Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and Foundation of Kavli Nanoscience Institute and Whitley Family Prize. His papers have been published in the most prestigious world science journals, where they were highly cited. ‘It is a great pleasure to hear so many nice words in Serbian’, said Nađ-Perge during the official ceremony, thanking everybody for the recognition and announcing his arrival in Belgrade.
‘The Prize was established to highlight extraordinary results which mark world physics’, said Dr Petar Adžić, managing director of the Marko Jarić Foundation, during the ceremony, reminding the audience of the work of early departed Serbian physicist Marko Jarić, who, as a professor at the most renowned American universities and a recipient of numerous awards, published 105 papers in top-notch journals and four books. The Prize is awarded on 17 March, Marko Jarić’s birthday.
‘This year the Prize has been awarded for the 21st time’, said Dr Aleksandar Belić, president of the Management Board of the Foundation, explicating that the received nominations were considered by an expert panel consisting of distinguished physicians Dr Milica Milovanović, Dr Milan Knežević and Dr Marija Dimitrijević Ćirić. ‘The Panel unanimously proposed to the Management Board to present the Prize to Dr Stevan Nađ-Perge, an assistant professor of Caltech’, said Belić revealing the laureate’s name to the vast and impatient audience on the Zoom platform.
‘Scientific discoveries and results are global heritage, while prizes in science are of the local character, but this is how we familiarize ourselves with the outstanding individuals and with them we build a strong system and society,’ emphasized Dr Saša Lazović, assistant minister at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, congratulating the laureate on behalf of the Government and Ministry, adding that ‘this year’s winner is a young researcher whose results are superb’.
Dr Stevan Nađ-Perge completed the Mathematical Grammar School in Belgrade, and he obtained his BSc and MSc in theoretical physics from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Belgrade. During his education, he won multiple awards, both in the country and the world. He received his PhD from Delft University of Technology where he engaged in the physics of quantum dots in semiconductor nanowires. Following the completion of his doctorate, he received a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University and Delft University of Technology, and in this period he achieved significant results in research on topological Majorana bound states.
‘We have had the honour of working with him at the Institute on a model of planetary system formation’, stated Dr Aleksandar Bogojević, director of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade, pointing out that this year’s winner is a prime example of how work with the young is a difficult task worth the effort. In order to achieve great results, the cooperation between institutions in the country and the diaspora is indispensable’, said Bogojević, reminding of the list of researchers who have so far received the Marko Jarić Prize, and highlighting that the Institute has funded the Prize for several years with the idea of strengthening this process that is vital for domestic science.
Per tradition, the winner of the Prize delivered a short speech on his research work, though by means of the Zoom platform. In this interesting lecture, Nađ-Perge presented twisted bilayer graphemes which have potential applications in various quantum technologies. Such multilayer structures exhibiting the properties of superconductors, when the angle between two layers is near the magic angle of 1.1 degrees, are the current focus of experiments of his group at the Caltech.