Congratulations to Laura Gray recipient of the inaugural 2014 Montag Physics Award

Laura Gray has been awarded the inaugural Jim and Ethel Montag Graduate Physics Award for the 2014-2015 academic year.  The Jim and Ethel Montag Graduate Physics Award is awarded annually to an exceptional graduate student for accomplishments in physics research.  Recipients receive an additional $2000 to their stipend the year they receive the award.  The award is granted to the student (US Citizens only) with the most significant accomplishment in research.  The 2014-2015 academic year represents the first year this award is being given.  The Montag Graduate Physics Award was established by James L. Montag (58C) and his late wife Ethel in honor of Prof. Fereydoon Family, for his mentoring and academic influence of their son Lee Montag (85C).

Laura Gray

Laura Gray recently published an exciting first-author paper in the journal Soft Matter, one of the top rated journals in the area of soft condensed matter physics:  L.A.G. Gray and C.B. Roth, "Stability of Polymer Glasses Vitrified Under Stress," Soft Matter 2014, 10, 1572-1578.

For this study Laura designed and built an apparatus that allowed her to control the stress applied to polymer films as they are cooled and form a glass.  She found that stress applied during cooling can alter the glassy state that is formed.  This work provides insight into the nature of the glass transition and non-equilibrium materials common to polymers, colloids, granular materials, and molecular glasses, as well as having implications for polymer processing.  Since this article was published in January 2014, it has already received two citations.

In addition, Laura has an earlier first-author publication from her Ph.D. work published in 2012 in the journal Macromolecules, and two publications from her undergraduate research at North Carolina State University.  Laura obtained her B.S. in Physics from North Carolina State University in 2009, including a B.A. in History.  Laura also has strong interest in teaching, having been selected to develop and teach a course as part of the Laney Graduate School ORDER program (On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers) during the 2012-2013 academic year.  In 2012, Laura Gray was selected to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting at Lindau, Germany on Lake Constance.  Based on her research accomplishments, she was selected to be among 550 young researchers from all over the world to "hobnob" with more than 25 Physics Nobel Laureates.  Most recently, Laura was chair of the Gordon Research Seminar meeting on Polymer Physics, the satellite meeting for graduate students and postdocs preceding the main Gordon Research Conference.  Laura has given many presentations at international scientific conferences, from the American Physical Society (APS), the American Chemical Society (ACS), to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meetings.