2 researchers named Goeppert Mayer scholars

Mathematician Lisette G. de Pillis and experimental physicist Maria Iavarone have received 1999 Maria Goeppert Mayer Distinguished Scholar awards.

The award, named for an Argonne physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, was established to recognize outstanding achievements by woman scientists and engineers. It provides opportunities to conduct innovative research in the special environment and unique capabilities offered by Argonne.

Iavarone is an expert in the use of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), a technique that can image solid surfaces down to atomic scales. She is also skilled at preparing thin films of materials, photolithographic techniques, development of low-noise electronics, transport measurements and tunneling spectroscopy.

Iavarone has worked with Argonne scientists to conduct studies of high-temperature superconducting materials (materials that conduct electricity without resistance when cooled with liquid nitrogen). She plans to conduct additional research in the field during the year-long distinguished scholar program, using STM to study superconducting properties in thin films and crystals.

De Pillis will visit the Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) Division at Argonne-East for one year, where she will work with division researchers in studies of fluid dynamics and linear algebra. She is associate professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif.

De Pillis' areas of expertise are in numerical analysis and applied mathematics. Her work includes the theory of wave behavior and the mathematical modeling of biological processes. She recently received funding to build a multinode parallel "Beowulf" cluster computer.

De Pillis has a keen interest in applying mathematics to "real-life" scientific problems. She has directed five year-long clinics that focus on solving industrial problems posed by business and research firms, and was winner of a prize for the best mathematics clinic in 1997.

She has also been involved in industrial mathematics workshops designed to promote cooperative research between mathematicians and scientists of other disciplines.

De Pillis has given invited lectures at leading universities and international conferences, and has a strong record of publication in fields ranging from numerical linear algebra to chemical modeling.