Physicist Giti Khodaparast awarded top National Science Foundation grant for early stage research

BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 16, 2009 – A Virginia Tech physicist is one of three faculty members from the College of Science who have been awarded prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grants by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Giti Khodaparast, from the Department of Physics in the College of Science, received a $550,000 grant to support her research and educational activities in order to better understand quantum states and interactions in semiconductor materials, important for developing concepts for next generation of devices.

The educational activities of this career proposal are closely integrated with the research activities.

“There is a pressing need for graduates with strong and broad knowledge of quantum physics, materials science, optics, and nano-scale science,” Khodaparast said. “The research and educational plans of this proposal will introduce students at different levels to advanced and modern concepts in condensed matter physics required for the fast-paced world of modern quantum technology.”

One activity included in the proposal is collaborations with the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School (RVGS), to provide lectures on modern topics in physics. Students who attend RVGS are from seven districts in the New River Valley.

CAREER awards are made to outstanding young faculty members who present career development plans that effectively integrate research and education, with an emphasis on combining the excitement of research with inspired teaching. The CAREER program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards for outstanding faculty early in their profession.

Khodaparast joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2004. She earned her Ph.D. in physics at the University of Oklahoma.