Peter Palffy-Muhoray, Ph.D.

Twenty-nine Kent State faculty members have been named to be in the top 2% of scientists in the world based on a recent study published by Stanford University scholars.

The report, published in the PLOS Biology Journal, evaluated more than six million scientists across 22 different fields and 176 sub-fields from 1996 until 2019. The top 2% list is made up of more than 100,000 most-cited scientists who have authored at least five scientific papers.

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I like simple problems with elegant solutions.


Questions & Answers

Why did you decide to pursue your field of research?

I explored a number of areas of endeavor and physics and mathematics turned out to be the fields  where I finally felt at home. Solving problems in condensed matter and liquid crystal physics has been immensely satisfying. 

What would you tell a student at the beginning of their academic career?

Don't stop searching until you find the field - whatever that may be - which is right for you.

Tell us a little about your research:

Puzzles are everywhere; almost everything we see around us is incompletely understood. I am not well disciplined, and, together with close colleagues, tend to work on a number of unrelated but fascinating topics. These range from liquid crystal lasers, shape changing materials, the physics of magic tricks, paradoxes in mechanics and statistics, and so on. I like simple problems with elegant solutions. 

What are you hoping to accomplish?

To shed a little light on interesting phenomena, and to inspire the odd student to do likewise. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don't worry, be happy.

Who is someone you admire, and why?

I admire everyone who excels at their art.  

Do You have any skills or talents most people don't know about? 

Yes.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

In physics and math it's hard to know when work stops and not working begins. 
I enjoy sports (skating, skiing, karate), music (flamenco guitar) and fixing things.     

What does it mean to you to be included in the top 2% in your field?

An unexpected and largely undeserved honor to be included in a list of such distinguished scientists.

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