A Virginia Tech physicist has been invited to spend three months at a German university as part of a program designed to attract the world's leading scientists to that country.

Royce K. P. Zia, professor of physics in the College of Science, was invited by the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation to collaborate with faculty members in the physics departments at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In 2002, Zia was honored with the foundation’s highest award, the Humboldt Research Prize and spent several months at the same university working with Professor Hans Werner Diehl on phase transition in complex materials. The award will enable him to continue this research collaboration.

Zia earned his Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He came to Virginia Tech as an assistant professor in 1976 and has received numerous awards and honors including a National Science Foundation predoctoral fellowship, a NATO postdoctoral fellowship, and several teaching excellence awards. He is a Fellow in the American Physical Society and was chair of the physics department from 2004 to 2006.

The Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation promotes academic cooperation between scientists and scholars from around the world. Fellowship awardees come to Germany to pursue a research project with a host and collaborative partner. Participants are selected based on their academic record. The program promotes international cultural dialogue and academic exchange.