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Forrey receives National Science Foundation grant

Forrey receives NSF grant
Dr. Robert Forrey

Dr. Robert Forrey, Professor of Physics at Penn State Berks, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in the amount of $230,695 for his research titled “Quantum mechanical studies of hydrogen and helium interactions: applications in astrophysical, ultracold, and industrial environments.”  The grant is effective from September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2015.

This grant is Forrey’s sixth award in the NSF Atomic Theory Program. His research has also been funded by the Smithsonian Institution, NASA, and Air Products.

The intellectual merit of the proposed research includes first principles investigation of the interactions of hydrogen with other atoms and molecules, the formation and dynamics of helium-containing van der Waals molecules, and chemical reactions involving hydrogen on the surfaces of metallic clusters. Each of these investigations will use fully quantum mechanical methods to mathematically describe all details of the interactions involving hydrogen and helium.

The results of the theoretical calculations will be used to model various environments including the formation of the first stars in the early Universe, the dynamics of ultracold collisions in magnetic traps, and the mechanisms of relevance to industrial processes such as heterogeneous catalysis.

The broader impacts of the award include the development of human resources and educational outreach activities. Student internships will be made available and general education and outreach talks will be given that relate the research activities with topics of interest to the public.

Forrey was recently named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the premier physics organization in the world, representing over 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Election to APS fellowship is based on outstanding contributions to the field and is limited to no more than 1/2 of 1 percent of the society's membership.
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