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Brookhaven Lab Scientist Ralph James is Named Materials Research Society Fellow

Ralph James

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UPTON, NY — Senior Scientist Ralph James of the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory has been named a Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS). James was honored during a special reception held during the annual MRS meeting in San Francisco on April 22. 

The title of MRS Fellow honors those MRS members whose sustained and distinguished contributions to the advancement of materials research are internationally recognized. The maximum number of new Fellow appointments each year is limited to 0.2 percent of the current MRS membership, making the distinction highly selective. 

James was selected in recognition of his outstanding experimental and theoretical contributions in materials research leading to the development of compound semiconductors and innovative field-portable instrumentation for detecting and imaging x-ray and gamma-ray radiation.

With 19 patents in his name, James is an internationally recognized expert on instrumentation for detecting and imaging x-ray and gamma-ray radiation. His pioneering work in the development of optical and photonic technology for high-resolution spectroscopy has led to the development of a new class of solid-state radiation detectors that operate at room temperature. His research, which spans more than three decades, has enabled significant advances in the performance of wide band-gap semiconducting compounds that detect radioactive materials, and the development of field-portable instruments incorporating the technology. In 2009, James and fellow Brookhaven Lab researcher Yonggang Cui also developed a compact gamma camera for high-resolution imaging of prostate cancer.

"I am honored to be named an MRS Fellow," said James. "Without the help of very talented people at Department of Energy labs, in academia, and in industry, we could not have made these significant materials and detector advances. It is personally gratifying to see that this research has led to devices that have become useful in numerous areas, from identifying tumors to safeguarding nuclear materials."

James is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, International Society for Optics and Photonics, and Optical Society of America, and has served as chairman of 29 international scientific conferences. He has also has served as president of International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), and in the prestigious role of chairman of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. He volunteers by serving on the Long Island Forum for Technology Executive Board and Hauppauge Industrial Association-Long Island Board. He is devoted to collaborative research and development initiatives and educational activities on Long Island, and provides a strong national voice in fostering science policy supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. 

In addition to his innovative research, James served as Brookhaven Lab's Associate Laboratory Director for Energy, Environment, and National Security from 2001 to 2008.  He has authored more than 500 scientific papers, served as editor of 23 books, and holds numerous awards and honors, including being a five-time winner of R&D Magazine's 100 Award, which honors the top 100 inventions of the year.

Ralph James earned his B.S. in engineering physics in 1976 from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and his M.S. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1977. He holds another M.S. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Caltech.  He joined Brookhaven Lab in 2001, where his work has secured the Lab's prominent position in the advancement of radiation detection research.

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