Eric Plum

Eric Plum

Eric Plum, a third year PhD student from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), University of Southampton, will receive the Marconi Society Young Scholar Award October 9th at the annual Marconi Awards Dinner at the Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna, Italy. The dinner and the preceding two-day Marconi Symposium, which coincide with the centennial of Guglielmo Marconi’s receipt of the Nobel Prize, are being co-hosted by the Fondazione Guglielmo Marconi of Bologna.

Now in its second year, the Marconi Young Scholar Awards Program recognizes outstanding young researchers in the fields of communications and the Internet. Plum, one of five students and graduates chosen in 2009 by an international committee, was selected for his pioneering work on chiral metamaterials, in particular the discovery of a new type of chirality, the demonstration of a negative index of refraction and important advances in understanding asymmetric transmission, a new fundamental effect which resembles the Faraday effect. His research is especially relevant to optical telecommunications, data storage and imaging.

“Marconi Society Young Scholars have demonstrated extraordinary early promise and already have made an impact in their fields of research,” said Robert Lucky, chairman of the Marconi Society. “The selection committee looks for candidates who show the potential to win the Marconi Prize—the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in communications science—at some point in the future. As a point of reference, Marconi Fellows have been at the forefront of every modern advance in telecommunications and the Internet.”

Plum, a member of the nanophotonics and metamaterials research group at the ORC, has worked on a variety of projects and published a number of papers including “Metamaterial with Negative Index due to Chirality” which was highlighted in the Editor’s suggestions of the journal Physical Review B.

Plum grew up in Bad Münstereifel, Germany, studied Physics at RWTH Aachen, Germany and spent his third year as a visiting student at the University of Southampton in the School of Physics and Astronomy. He spent his fourth year as a Fulbright scholar at New Mexico Tech, USA, where he received highest honours for his B.Sc. in Physics with Astrophysics and was awarded the Albert Petscheck Award for excellence in theoretical physics. He joined the ORC in 2006.

Plum is married to Dr. Nadia Fisher-Plum, and is the son of Walther Plum and Helga Trump-Plum, both secondary school language teachers in Germany.