Dr. Alexander Govorov is an esteemed physics professor and researcher at Ohio University who is credited for starting the field of chiral plasmonics and plasmonic assemblies. He is considered to be an expert regarding the theory of optical properties of nanomaterials and nanostructures, and some of his more than 200 published works on the subject are highly cited by academic peers.
On Monday, Feb. 20, Ohio University honors Govorov during the Distinguished Professor Portrait Unveiling and Lecture. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception in the Baker University Center Ballroom, followed by the Distinguished Professor introduction and portrait unveiling at 7 p.m. Followng the unveiling, Govorov will present his lecture, titled “Trapping Photons and Heat Using Nanocrystals.”
Compass sat down with Govorov to learn more about his academic career and research and why he chooses to call Ohio University home.
How does it feel to be named a Distinguished Professor?
When I received it, it was a very exciting moment for me. Ohio University has so many talented and successful professors and researchers who have contributed a lot to OHIO, and there are only a few Distinguished Professors. It is a great honor and privilege to receive this award.
What can people expect from your upcoming lecture, and why do you feel it is important for people to attend?
The idea of the lecture is to give an interesting story about what we do in our research using lay terms for a general, non-scientific audience. The presentation will be about the properties of light and about modern optical nanomaterials that exhibit useful, and sometimes futuristic, properties.
What inspired you to become a professor of physics?
I think it is amazing that we can describe, understand and predict the properties of matter. Physics allows us to predict how this or that material or physical system behaves, and as a result, people can design machines and devices that have the potential to solve problems.
Can you talk about some of the research you’re currently working on?
My interests concern nanocrystals and biomolecules and their interaction with light and heat. The properties of nanocrystals are really interesting and can be very unusual. Using nanocrystals, one can design optical materials with useful properties. Potential applications can be in solar cells, sensors and smart materials and glasses.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The use of my theories by hundreds of research groups. How my theories work in hundreds of experiments and how they create new streams of research. I’ve had a large number of invitations for conferences and been recognized with several international research awards. Being recognized with the Distinguished Professor award, as well.
What do you love about working at Ohio University?
I like the great atmosphere of science and art in this historical college town in the Appalachian region. During the 15 years I’ve been at Ohio University, I’ve found the environment here excellent for research and teaching, and living.
About the Distinguished Professor Award
The Distinguished Professor Award recognizes outstanding scholarly and creative accomplishments and is the highest permanent recognition attainable by faculty at Ohio University. Recipients must have attained tenure and completed a minimum of five years of service at Ohio University.
Among the privileges granted to Distinguished Professors is the honor of annually naming an undergraduate student to receive a year’s full-tuition scholarship, lifetime designation title of Distinguished Professor, a one-quarter paid research leave, stipend, and travel support.
The award, first given in 1959, is supported by an endowment provided by Edwin and Ruth Kennedy to the Baker Fund.