The Center for Biological Physics at UCLA gratefully acknowledges an endowment provided by Richard Kaplan, a UCLA physics alumnus (MS 1962) and founder of the research and development company Ultramet. Thanks to this generous award, the Center will be able to offer the Kaplan Ultramet Award in Biological Physics, beginning in Fall 2014, to a deserving graduate and undergraduate student each year. This award will not only help support student research at UCLA, it will also provide new opportunities for promising students to broaden their study of physics by attending international research institutes, participating in conferences, and visiting collaborators world-wide.
Kaplan, who performed research at UCLA into the properties of quantum fluids with the late Professor Isadore Rudnick, said, "Philanthropic support of UCLA’s research efforts is crucial to the department’s ability to remain competitive and at the cutting edge of science." This includes biological physics, a rapidly evolving branch of modern physics that seeks to understand how the interactions of complex molecular systems lead to the collective organization and dynamics that constitute life. Ultramet shares the Center’s interest in exploring the how physics can change our understanding of biology, and in how biological systems can inspire new research in physics.
Kaplan and Ultramet have long been interested in the interface of the physical and life sciences. By creating novel nano-textured materials, the company addresses complex problems in a variety of fields ranging from aerospace engineering to biomedical applications. Ultramet is primarily a research company, working under contracts from DARPA, DOD, and NASA. One of its key breakthroughs was the development of what is now known as trabecular metals, which are strong and ductile porous metallic networks. These structures, made from biocompatible metals, are now the foundation for a number of orthopedic materials, including modern hip replacements.
We look forward to a long and productive partnership, and we thank Richard Kaplan and Ultramet for their support of cutting-edge research into fundamental biological physics in the Physics Department and the UCLA Center for Biological Physics.