Sonia Bacca elected Fellow of the American Physical Society

Major award for the theoretical physicist, a member of the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence

27 September 2019

Professor Sonia Bacca, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), has this year been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). This American scientific association is acknowledging her outstanding contribution to theoretical calculations of the electromagnetic properties of atomic nuclei, contributing to our understanding of nuclear structure at the microscopic level.

The APS Fellowship Program was created to recognize members who have made advances in physics through original research and publication. In their letter confirming her election, the APS emphasized that "it is a prestigious recognition by peers for outstanding contributions to physics."

"To be accepted into the circle of APS Fellows is an enormous honor for me and I am of course absolutely delighted," said Bacca. "Not only does this represent an affirmation of the quality of my scientific research but it will further enhance the reputation of the Mainz research hub as a leading international center of nuclear and hadron physics."

Professor Sonia Bacca's research is primarily focused on predicting the properties of atomic nuclei, which can be obtained from the interactions between the basic components – protons and neutrons – described in terms of chiral effective field theory. Her research aims to establish a solid connection between experimental observations and the underlying fundamental theory of quantum chromodynamics.

The prestigious status of Fellow is awarded to no more than 0.5 percent of the roughly 40,000 members of the American Physical Society per year. Among the 168 Fellows appointed in 2019, Sonia Bacca is one of only three based at German universities.

Sonia Bacca has been lecturing and researching at the Institute of Nuclear Physics at JGU since 2017. She is an expert in theoretical nuclear physics, particularly in few-body and many-body systems, as well as in electroweak reactions and muonic atoms.

Born in Italy, she obtained her doctoral degree in 2005 in a cotutelle Ph.D. program offered by JGU in collaboration with the University of Trento. Between 2005 and 2008, she worked as a postdoc at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt and at the TRIUMF laboratory in Vancouver (2008-2009). Before taking up her position in Mainz, she was a staff research scientist at TRIUMF from 2009 to 2017. She was appointed an adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba in 2013, and from 2014 she was also an instructor at the University of British Columbia.