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Giacinto Scoles, FRS

Donner Professor of Science, Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Professor, Departments of Biophysics and Condensed Matter Physics, Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati

Trieste, Italy

Laureate Video (16.8M)

Giacinto Scoles

Year: 2006

Subject: Physics

Award: Benjamin Franklin

Citation: The 2006 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics is awarded to Giacinto Scoles and J. Peter Toennies for the development of new techniques for studying molecules, including unstable species that could not be examined otherwise, by embedding them in extremely small and ultra-cold droplets of helium. Their work also led to a better understanding of the extraordinary properties of superfluid helium, such as its ability to flow without friction.

Biographical Information

Scoles was born in Torino, Italy. After earning a master's degree from the University of Genova in 1959 and studying at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, he began his academic career in the physics department of the University of Genova, Italy. He then accepted an appointment at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, for three years, returning to Genova in 1964. He subsequently joined the faculty of the University of Waterloo, Canada, as professor of chemistry and physics, a position he held until 1986. He also served as acting director of the Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry in 1974-1975, after which he returned to Italy, this time as professor of solid state physics at the University of Trento. Between 1982 and 1985, he served as director of the Center for Molecular Beams and Laser Chemistry at the University of Waterloo. In 1987 he accepted a position as Donner Professor of Science at Princeton University chemistry department and Princeton Materials Institute, where he works today.

At present, Scoles divides his time among three institutions. He teaches and conducts research at Princeton University in the fall. Come winter and spring, Scoles is part time professor in the departments of biophysics and condensed matter physics of the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy. He also is a long-term collaborator at the Elettra Synchrotron Laboratory in Trieste.

Scoles has received many honors over the years. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society (U.K.) and an elected foreign member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of The Netherlands. He was the recipient of the Lippincott Award of the Optical Society of America, the Coblentz Society, the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, and the E.K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy. He is multi-lingual, speaking and writing in English, Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish.