ASU physics professor awarded 2022 Sloan Research Fellowship


February 21, 2022

Arizona State University Assistant Professor Antia Botana of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was recently awarded the 2022 Sloan Research Fellowship, a prestigious recognition for outstanding early-career researchers. Botana is among 118 Sloan Research Fellowship recipients this year, and the ninth at ASU to receive the award.

Since 1955, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded fellowships to researchers in the U.S. and Canada whose creativity, innovation and accomplishments make them stand out as leaders in scientific research. Recipients are selected in seven scientific and technical fields, including chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience and physics, and they receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship to advance their research efforts. Portrait of ASU Assistant Professor Anita Botana. Arizona State University Assistant Professor Antia Botana was awarded the 2022 Sloan Research Fellowship, a prestigious recognition for outstanding early-career researchers. She is among 118 Sloan Research Fellowship recipients this year, and the ninth at ASU to receive the award. Download Full Image

Botana was nominated for the fellowship by Patricia Rankin, chair of the Department of Physics, and Regents Professor Robert Nemanich.

“I am delighted that the Sloan Foundation has recognized the excellence of Antia’s work and the promise of her future activities,” said Rankin. “Her work has exciting implications and allows for the fast discovery of novel materials with applications in information technology.” 

Botana's research utilizes density functional theory to direct the computational design of materials with novel functionalities. She works on topics ranging from superconductivity to frustrated magnetism, thermoelectricity and confinement effects in nanostructures. Her ASU research group focuses on computational condensed matter theory, with an emphasis on magnetism and superconductivity.

“The previous winners are all outstanding scientists, so it’s a real privilege to be part of that community. I feel really honored to know that I was selected,” Botana said. “With this fellowship, I hope to further some of the work we have been doing on nickel-based superconductors. We think these materials can help us solve some long-standing mysteries in the context of high-temperature superconductivity.”

Botana added that the fellowship will enable her and her research group to increase the throughputThe amount of material or items passing through a system or process. of their computational experiments in superconductors to achieve a better understanding of some of the problems they are currently trying to solve.

Originally from Spain, Botana’s curiosity for physics was ignited at an early age, with her love for science only growing due to women she has encountered throughout her career in academia.

“As a female doing science, theoretical physics in particular, one has to overcome extra barriers, in particular many biases and stereotypes,” Botana said. “I think that two factors that made me move through those challenges were my love for science and having great female mentors.”

Botana received her PhD in physics from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Santiago, Spain. Prior to joining ASU in 2018, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Argonne National Lab and at the University of California, Davis. In her work, Botana said she is motivated not only by her passion for science but also by the students she has the opportunity to work with at ASU. 

“The satisfaction of my own curiosity by solving a complicated problem is a great source of joy,” she said. “Having fun with what I do for work is an absolute privilege and my main driver. Being able to work with younger people every day is my other primary motivation.”

Emily Balli

Multimedia specialist, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences