Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

Richard J. Plano Summer Research Internship

The Richard J. Plano Summer Research Internship is awarded annually to two Rutgers physics majors who, in the judgment of the physics faculty, have demonstrated outstanding academic excellence. The internship, which provides a stipend for working on a summer research project in the department, was established by an anonymous donor in honor of Richard J. Plano, who was a professor of physics at Rutgers until his retirement in 1999. The internship winners are announced at the Departmental Awards Banquet in April, sponsored by the Rutgers Society of Physics Students .

A photograph of Prof. Plano is shown above. Click on the picture to see a larger image.

Richard J. Plano (1929-2012)

Biographical sketch contributed by Mohan Kalelkar

Richard J. Plano was born on April 15, 1929 in Merrill, Wisconsin. He won a competitive all-tuition Pepsi-Cola Scholarship, which made it possible for him to attend the University of Chicago, where he received the AB Degree in 1949, the BS in 1951, MS in 1953 and his Ph.D. in 1956. He helped develop the first liquid hydrogen bubble chamber, which he then used for his thesis research into pion-proton scattering.

He joined the faculty of Columbia University, New York, NY in January, 1956 as an instructor and was promoted to assistant professor in 1958. While there he participated in bubble chamber experiments at Nevis Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory which determined the parity of the neutral pion and the spin of the lambda hyperon, revealed the properties of the then mysterious neutral kaon, and produced numerous other results which formed the basis of the now commonly accepted "Standard Model".

In 1960 he joined the Physics Department at Rutgers as an associate professor and quickly founded a strong program in high-energy experimental physics, starting with an advanced facility to analyze bubble chamber photographs. In 1963 he was promoted to full professor and in 1985 to Professor II. His research was supported by the National Science Foundation, which increased his annual support each year for 35 years to a maximum of $315,000.

The NSF support included funding for an automatic device (called PEPR) for scanning and measuring bubble chamber photographs semi-automatically under computer control. An outgrowth of this effort was one of the first powerful time-sharing computer systems, which controlled PEPR, analyzed the resulting data, and was made available to the entire faculty, staff, and graduate student body starting in 1965. This pioneering computing effort gave the department impressive computing power at an early stage in the development of computers. His research using this equipment produced many results of major importance concerning the strong interactions as well as neutrino interactions. Starting in 1985, his major interest turned to electron accelerators and he made major contributions to the SLD detector at Stanford University. During his career, he used the high energy accelerators at the University of Chicago, Nevis Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermilab, CERN, and Stanford University. More than 200 refereed publications have resulted from these investigations.

He enjoyed teaching at all levels. His major teaching efforts were at the elementary level and in mentoring graduate students; thirteen received the Ph.D. degree under his guidance.

Prof. Plano died on January 8, 2012 after a long illness.

Winners of the Richard J. Plano Summer Research Internship

2001Nicholas SmolneyRobert Friedman  
2002King TsoiJames Lallo  
2003Rebecca BatorskyAdam Hauser  
2004Mehmet YinancJohan Reyes  
2005Rodney GateauPablo Mosteiro  
2006Stanislav SolomovichMatthew Calhoun  
2007Amanda LundbergYifan Lin  
2008Sonal PatelRichard Bavier  
2009Brett SalmonPatrick Stanger  
2010Sabrina StraussJennifer Yu  
2011Kin ChanThomas De Voe  
2012Mohamed BahriRebecca Cebulka Aravind Devarakonda
2013Hannah BishChris Farina David Osterman
2014Lavi BlumbergChris Irslinger Craig Reingold
2015Daniel Hertz-KintishAlan Kahn Harankumar Nallasivan
2016Nakul GangolliIan Graham Xiaofei Yu

Photographs from Awards Banquets

Click on any picture to see a larger image.

Prof. Richard Plano (left) and internship winners Nicholas Smolney (middle) and Robert Friedman (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 12, 2001.
Internship winners King Tsoi (left) and James Lallo (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 16, 2002.
Internship winners Rebecca Batorsky (left) and Adam Hauser (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 22, 2003, shown with their research advisers Profs. Amit Lath and Eva Andrei respectively.
Internship winners Mehmet Yinanc (left) and Johan Reyes (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 20, 2004.
Internship winners Rodney Gateau (left, with research adviser Prof. Robert Bartynski) and Pablo Mosteiro (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 26, 2005.
Internship winners Stanislav Solomovich (left) and Matthew Calhoun (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 18, 2006.
Internship winners Amanda Lundberg (left) and Yifan Lin (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 24, 2007.
Internship winners Sonal Patel (left) and Richard Bavier (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 29, 2008.
Internship winners Brett Salmon (left) and Patrick Stanger (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 21, 2009.
Internship winners Sabrina Strauss (left) and Jennifer Yu (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 27, 2010.
Internship winners Kin Chan (left) and Thomas De Voe (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 26, 2011.
Internship winners Mohamed Bahri (left), Rebecca Cebulka (middle), and Aravind Devarakonda (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 17, 2012.
Internship winners Hannah Bish (left), Chris Farina (middle), and David Osterman (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 23, 2013.
Internship winners Lavi Blumberg (left), Chris Irslinger (middle), and Craig Reingold (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 22, 2014.
Internship winners Daniel Hertz-Kintish (left), Alan Kahn (middle), and Harankumar Nallasivan (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 21, 2015.
Internship winners Nakul Gangolli (left), Ian Graham (middle), and Xiaofei Yu (right) at the Departmental Awards Banquet on April 19, 2016.

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This page is maintained by Prof. Mohan Kalelkar.