Nov. 15, 2001
Vol. 21 No. 5

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    Four Argonne National Laboratory physicists are most cited

    Four physicists at Argonne National Laboratory have been named among the 98 most highly cited physicists in the world over the period between 1981 and 1999.

    The four scientists––George Crabtree, David Hinks, James Jorgensen and Valerii Vinokur––were listed by the Institute for Scientific Information, which created the list of physicists by analyzing citation data for more than 19 million articles. ISI creates such lists in several research disciplines.

    Citations, the footnotes or references in scholarly articles, show the sources of ideas that led to the research and theory in those articles. Compiling these citations in an index enables tracking of trends in ideas and methods through time.

    Argonne’s entry of four researchers tops all other national labs on the list and is tied with Harvard University for fourth among all institutions on the physics list, behind Bell Labs, Princeton University and IBM. Seventy of the physicists on the list are from the United States. Switzerland is second with six, followed by Germany with four and France with three. In all, the scientists on the physics list represent 15 nations, and each scientist provided more than 7,000 citations on the articles published during the period.

    Members of the Materials Science Division at Argonne, Crabtree, Hinks, Jorgensen and Vinokur conduct research that covers a wide spectrum, including theory, materials preparation, crystal structure and novel behavior.

    They say being based in the same building, where they often talk science and stimulate each other’s research, is advantageous. This exchange of ideas, a special strength of MSD and Argonne, enables the innovative, cutting-edge research that pushes the scientific frontier and generates a substantial number of citations.

    “MSD has worked for many years to create a dynamic research environment, which encourages strong interaction among scientists and creative new research directions,” said Murray Gibson, who was MSD director until his recent promotion to associate laboratory director for Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source. “The inclusion of four scientists from this division on the highly cited list testifies to the power of this approach and reflects the high standards of MSD and Argonne.”

    Nearly all the cited papers of the four physicists originated from their work at Argonne.

    “We are looking forward to even greater impact for our work in the next 10 years,” said Jorgensen, an expert in the crystalline structure of materials. “We have learned how to lead the field and have fun doing it.”

    Crabtree said, “The most exciting thing is the thrill of a new discovery.” He and his colleagues have uncovered many secrets of exotic superconductivity and magnetic materials.

    “We are looking for new challenges,” added Hinks. “That’s the beauty of research: Each new discovery opens doors to even more fascinating developments.”

    Upcoming programs in nanoscience and nanotechnology offer perhaps the richest opportunities for exploring new worlds. “At those tiny length scales, materials don’t follow traditional rules,” said Vinokur, a theorist with wide interests in condensed matter physics. “The environment we have in MSD and Argonne is ideal for driving the best work.”

    An example of this is Argonne’s new research establishment, the Materials Theory Institute, which Vinokur directs. The institute encourages high-level theory collaboration with many of Argonne’s programs.

    In 1981, Eugene Garfield, the founder and now chairman emeritus of ISI, identified scientists whose publications received the highest number of citations in the preceding decade. He saw these references as a valuable indication of the technical and intellectual precursors to a published work and a way to spotlight influential articles.

    The lists created by the Institute for Scientific Information are available on the Web at http://www.isihighlycited.com.