The American Physical Society has announced that Yale professor Nicholas Read of the departments of Physics and Applied Physics is among three recipients of the 2002 Oliver E. Buckley Prize for condensed matter physics. Read is the first Yale professor to win the award.

Condensed matter physics involves the study of interactions of magnets, superconductors and superfluids, a state of matter in which atoms and electrons move in large unstoppable groups.

Professor Jainendra Jain of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. Robert Willett of Bell Laboratories shared the prize with Read. Read said the three scientists communicated with each other but not directly collaborate.

Read and Jain, a former post-doctoral student of Read’s in 1988, contributed to the theoretical aspect and predicted a new state of matter for electrons moving in two dimensions in a semiconductor. Willett contributed the experimental data that reinforced the theory. Read’s paper on the topic was published in 1993.

“The fact that Nick was recognized for his work on the Quantum Hall Effect is a source of great pride to all of us in Physics and Applied Physics,” Physics Department chairman Ramamurti Shankar wrote in an e-mail. “It is a milestone in Yale’s aspiration to become a world leader in this field.”

Douglas Stone, the chairman of the Department of Applied Physics, said the Buckley Prize is one of the most prestigious prizes awarded in the field of physics. Eighteen Buckley Prize recipients have gone on to win a Nobel Prize in either Physics or Chemistry.

Stone said the prize was an unprecedented recognition of the research done in condensed matter physics at Yale.

“It emphasizes the dramatic growth of strength in the area, exemplified by the three newest faculty in applied physics who have all won the Packard Science and Engineering Fellowship, the most prestigious young scientist award,” Stone wrote in an e-mail.

Stone added that Yale is becoming the place to be for research in condensed matter physics, the largest sub-discipline in physics overall.

“This creates many exciting opportunities for involvement in cutting-edge research for both Ph.D. and undergrad students,” Stone said.

Read was born in Britain and attended Cambridge University. He received his Ph.D. at the Imperial College of the University of London, after which he came to the United States for post-doctoral work at Brown and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The research that resulted in the Buckley Prize began during his time at MIT. In 1988, he came to Yale as an assistant professor.

Read said mathematics and physical science have been a lifelong fascination of his, beginning with an early enthusiasm in the space program and science fiction television shows.

The Buckley prize was first endowed by AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1952. It is named after Oliver E. Buckley, a former president of Bell Labs. The prize consists of a $5,000 award and a certificate recognizing the “most important contribution to the advancement of knowledge in condensed matter physics.”