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Physics Student Wins Prestigious International Scholarship

October 17, 2008 -- By Jody Sanford, College of Letters & Science

College Office

SPIE, an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light, provides scholarships to outstanding students based on their potential for long-range contribution to optics and photonics. Nikolay Makarov, a doctoral student in physics, is the 2008 recipient of the D.J. Lovell Scholarship. The scholarship, which is the Society's largest and most prestigious, awards $11,000 annually.

Nikolay, who is Russian, holds a master’s degree in applied mathematics and informatics from Saint-Petersburg State University of Informational Technologies, Mechanics and Optics in addition to his master's degree in physics from MSU. He works in Dr. Aleks Rebane’s research group which studies the absorption and emission of light where the light intensity is very high - a trillion times greater than the brightness of the sun. Such high intensity light is routinely created in some laser beams and is of great interest for various technological applications including data storage, telecommunications, medicine and national defense.

“After getting my master’s in Russia, I knew that there were no opportunities for experimental science in Russia and I wanted to do experiments; I wanted to see that whatever I study does work and exist in reality,” Makarov said. “I knew that science receives much more funding in the US. I applied to MSU to go to one of the best labs in nonlinear optics and to one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

“At MSU I use both theoretical simulations and experimental measurement to get the best out of science. I'm impressed by the diversity of problems we are solving in the lab.”

Nikolay is also an avid photographer who spends much of his spare time outdoors taking pictures with his collection of high-end digital cameras. The search for suitable storage materials for future terabyte optical disks is one of the applications of Nikolay’s light absorption research. According to Dr. Rebane, “This project is a priority for Nikolay because the current availability of digital storage space for all of his photos is insufficient.”

Updated: 04/15/2011