Carnegie Mellon University
October 01, 2019

Physics Ph.D. Candidate Yang Huang Wins Pake Fellowship

By Ben Panko

Physics Ph.D. candidate Yang Huang has received the George E. and Marjorie S. Pake Fellowship in Physics. The fellowship, which supports a Department of Physics graduate student, is named after George E. Pake, a physicist who studied nuclear magnetic resonance and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and his wife. After spending time as a professo

r and provost at Washington University of St. Louis, where he conducted research that contributed to the rise of magnetic resonance imaging, Pake served as the founding director of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, a subsidiary of Xerox Corporation that supported pioneering research into computing.

Yang Huang

"My recent research is related to two liquid alloys: lithium-sodium and potassium-sodium," said Huang of his work in the lab of Professor of Physics Mike Widom. Using theoretical models and computation, his goal is to explain the vastly different thermodynamic properties, such as why lithium-sodium will separate into two phases like oil and water at around 200 degree Celsius, while, at the same temperature, potassium-sodium will remain well-mixed. Meanwhile, at room temperature, solid potassium and solid sodium will form a liquid alloy just by touching each other.

"Yang Huang first came to CMU for a summer research project while he was an undergraduate attending the University of Science and Technology of China," said Widom. "We were lucky that he later applied to CMU's graduate program in physics."

"I feel honored to receive the Pake Fellowship and appreciate its support for the following academic year," Huang said. "As an international student, its approval is invaluable to me, which strengthens the confidence in myself and makes me feel like a part of the community. Besides, with its financial support, I am able to spend more time and energy on my research project."