Commencement

Myriam Sarachik
Photo: Erik Andrews '09

Myriam P. Sarachik

Doctor of Science

Myriam Sarachik has devoted her life not only to the research and teaching of physics, but also to improving the human rights of scientists everywhere, and enhancing the participation of women and minorities in the sciences.

Distinguished Professor of Physics at the City University of New York, where she chairs the department, she has continued to explore new areas of research, publishing nearly 150 articles and making important contributions to such diverse fields as superconductivity, the metal-insulator transition in two- and three-dimensional systems, and resonant tunneling of magnetization.

Born in 1933 in Antwerp, Belgium, Sarachik and her family fled that country as the Nazis approached. They were imprisoned in occupied France, but escaped, making their way to Cuba and then, in 1947, to the United States. After graduating from Barnard College, Sarachik completed her doctorate in 1960 at Columbia University. In that era, it was unusual enough for a woman to pursue a career in science, but it was especially unusual for a woman, like Sarachik, who was married and had a child. Against heavy odds, she rose through the ranks as an approachable and enthusiastic teacher who became a mentor and role model, especially to her women students. In 2005, she received both the prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science and the Oliver Buckley Prize for Condensed-Matter Physics awarded by the American Physical Society.

Widely respected as a scholar and researcher, Sarachik is a member of and advisor to many professional boards and organizations. She served recently as president of the American Physical Society and on the advisory council and executive committee of the National Science Foundation. In her role as advocate for scientists’ rights, she is a national board member of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, a member of the Human Rights of Scientists Committee of the New York Academy of Sciences and a former chair of the American Physical Society’s Committee on the International Freedom of Scientists.

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