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Manuel Cardona and Marcos Moshinsky

Prince of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 1988

For his important discoveries in materials physics, the basis for many of the new technologies.

Manuel Cardona

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Manuel Cardona Castro (Barcelona, Spain, 1934 - Stuttgart, Germany, 2014), the worldwide specialist in the field of solid state physics, has made decisive discoveries in materials physics, the basis for many of the new technologies. His work combines contributions to basic science with key ideas for subsequent applications. Many of his works deal with semiconductors, his studies in which he interprets their properties in terms of electronic interactions being classics.

Cardona was graduating in Physical Sciences in 1955 with summa cum laude and subsequently receiving he national prize for the best academic record of all Spain´s science faculties. In 1956 he obtained the Smith-Mundt grant and moved to Harvard University to work as a graduate under the guidance of Professor William Paul. There he began his thesis on the quadratic photomagnetoelectric effect in germanium and silicon, with which he was to obtain his doctorate in science from the University of Madrid in 1958. After continuing working on the dielectric properties of germanium and silicon and their dependence on pressure and temperature, he also obtained a doctorate in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1959. During his studies in this university he obtained the Juan March (1958) and Bell Labs (1959) grants.

Manuel Cardona´s professional career carried on, in the following years, in Switzerland, the USA and Germany. In December 1959 he joined the staff of the RCA laboratories in Zurich, Switzerland, where he was to stay until, in 1961, he moved to the same company´s laboratories in Princeton, USA.

In June 1964 he accepted the post of associate lecturer in Physics at Brown University, being promoted to full lecturer in 1966. In 1971 he moved on to become the director of the newly-founded Max-Planck Solid-State Institute in Stuttgart, FDR. Prior to this last move, Cardona had received grants from the A.P. Sloan Foundation, between 1965 and 1968, and from Guggenheim in 1969-70. Also, in 1963 and 1965 respectively, he taught in the universities of Pennsylvania and Buenos Aires, in the latter under the auspices of the Ford Foundation.

He has been a member of the editorial boards of the following scientific publications Physica Status Solid and Solid State Communications and Springer Series in Solid State Physics. He was an associate editor of Physical Review Letters and chief associate editor of Solid State Communications.

Cardona has belonged to the Revision Committee for Condensed Material Physics of the German National Science Foundation, to the Council of the German Physics Society, the Scientific Council of DESY (Hamburg), of the National centre for Telecommunications Studies (Paris), the Institute of Surface Science (Jülich, Germany), and belongs to the Academy of Sciences of the United States and that of Barcelona. He likewise formed part of the programme committees of all the International Conferences in Montpelier 1982 and Stockholm 1986. He received a grant from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science in 1984, and from the Yamada Foundation.

An advisor to RCA Laboratories (Princeton, New Jersey), GTE (Waltham, Massachusetts), IBM (Yorktown Heights, New York and Palo Alto, California) and XEROX PARC (Palo Alto, California), he is the author or co-author of more than six hundred articles on scientific subjects and of the books Modulación espectroscópica, Dispersión de la luz en sólidos (6 volumes) and Fotoemisión en sólidos (2 volumes).

A doctor honoris causa of the University of Madrid and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, honourary professor of Stuttgart University, Germany and honourary member of the American Physics Society, Manuel Cardona received the RCA Laboratories Prize in 1962, the Narcís Monturios Medal for Scientific Achievement in 1982, the Frank Isacson Prize in 1984, the Johanes M. von Kronland Medal (Czechoslovakia) in 1988, and the Prize of the Catalan Research Foundation in 1990.

Marcos Moshinsky

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Marcos Moshinsky (Kiev, Ukraine, 1921 – City of Mexico, Mexico, 2009), professor of theoretical physics and researcher at the Physics Institute of the Autonomous National University of Mexico, has made important contributions to the study of the symmetry of the basic laws of nature which have aided a greater understanding of the quantum physics which govern the behaviour of elemental particles.

Moshinsky belongs to a family of Jewish emigrants in Mexico, where he received his entire elementary and higher education and has spent almost all his professional life, from the age of three. After graduating in physics from the Autonomous National University, he moved to the United States in the late Forties to work at the University of Princeton under the guidance of Eugene P. Wigner, the Nobel Prize-winner for Physics. Wigner tutored his doctorate thesis (1949), which dealt with certain relativist equations with special contour conditions which simulate the interaction between particles. The techniques devised by Moshinsky in his thesis were to be widely used by himself and by other researchers in later years.

His scientific work concentrated from the beginning on the fields of theoretical nuclear physics and mathematical physics. His work began in the Fifties with a theoretical scheme for nuclear reactions, as well as studies of the structure of atomic nuclei. In particular, he introduced the concept of transformation parenthesis for harmonic oscillator functions, which, together with the tables drawn up in cooperation with T. Brody, considerable simplified the calculations in nucleus layer models, which has become an essential technique for everyone interested in the study of nuclear structure. These studies appeared in book form Tablas de paréntesis de transformación (1960), a classic of physics research.

In 1954 he moved to Paris with a grant from the CNRS. Later, the award of a fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (1959), would mean an improvement in his economic situation, which was finally solved by his entry to the higher teaching grades at the Autonomous National University of Mexico. In 1962, he was appointed president of the Academy of Scientific Research, a post he held until 1967, and after he occupied the chair of the Mexican Physics Society.

In the Sixties, Moshinsky´s interest began to centre upon the concept of hidden symmetry in problems of quantum mechanics. In the harmonic oscillator problem this symmetry is related to the unitary group, whose structure and application to many body problems are resumed in two of his books: Group theory and the many body problem and The harmonic oscillator in modern physics: from atoms to quarks.

In the Seventies, he principally analyzed two types of problems. The first of these was related to canonic transformations in classical mechanics and their representation in quantum mechanics. The second was the problem of collective movements in the nucleus, both from the macroscopic viewpoint, in the analysis with group theory of the Bohr-Mottelson model and of interacting bosons, and in the microscopic aspect, in what is known as the symplectic nucleus model. his interests in recent years have centred on the structure of material in strong magnetic fields, going from the solid state to elemental particles. He is also working on relativist symplectic models for quarks in elemental particles.

As well as participating in the editing of various international scientific journals, Moshinsky has published four books, two hundred technical publications and more than two hundred and fifty articles of journalism dealing with scientific information and education and the social impact of science.

In 1961, he received the Mexican Academy of Sciences Research Prize. He received the National Prize for Science and Arts in 1968, the Luis Elizondo Prize in 1971, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Exact Sciences Award in 1985 (which he donated to the victims of the September earthquake that same year) and the UNESCO Science Prize in 1997. He was a member of the Science Advisory Council of the Presidency of the Mexican Republic and was appointed a National Researcher Emeritus of the National System of Researchers in 1996.

The Institute of Physics at UNAM annually awards the Marcos Moshinsky Medal to the person, resident in Mexico, who has excelled for their original work in the field of theoretical physics.

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