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The ability to simply explain complex physical networks

Doctoral student Benia Gross from the Physics Department at Bar Ilan, the President's Scholar, has so far published 15 articles and one book, and has presented his works dealing with dependent physical networks, at 9 conferences

complex networks. Illustration:
complex networks. Illustration:

Meet Benya Gross, a student in the outstanding program with the President's scholarship, who studies critical phenomena in dependent physical networks, under the guidance of Prof. Shlomo Havlin, laureate of the Israel Prize for Physics (2017).

About a decade ago, researchers discovered that networks in nature and technology depend on each other and do not appear in isolation. As a result, a paradigm was developed and studied that describes interdependencies between different networks, such as infrastructure networks consisting of electricity and communication networks.

"My research deals with suspended physical networks, such as suspended magnetic or superconducting networks," says Gross, "the reason I chose this field is the elegance of being able to simplify a complex system into an abstract form of vertices and arcs, yet still retain the ability to explain complex phenomena that appear in it ".

Gross notes positively the research and study experience at Bar-Ilan and the physics department in particular. "The courses are interesting, the faculty is attentive to the students' needs. I would especially mention my supervisor, Prof. Heblin, who, besides being one of the leading researchers in the world, listens to the students and always has a welcoming attitude." In addition, he also refers to the social atmosphere in the laboratory and the research atmosphere, which were fun and meaningful for him, "sometimes we stayed until very late hours in the laboratory, for the atmosphere and not only for research".

The President's Scholarship that Gross received allows him to invest most of his time in research and academic work. To date, he has published 15 articles and one book, and presented his work at 9 conferences. This year he also won the Katz scholarship for outstanding doctoral students and last year the rector's award for doctoral students for excellence in research.

"Recently, our article was published in Nature Physics in collaboration with Prof. Aviad Friedman's research group," he says, "in the article we showed for the first time, after more than a decade of theoretical research on suspended networks, how this can be implemented in the laboratory using a super-network system dependent conductances. These systems have possible applications of multilayered, innovative materials and sensitive detectors."

Alongside his studies, Gross also found time to contribute to the community: "During my doctorate, I volunteered at the Yoel program that operates in Bar-Ilan to promote students from the Ethiopian community. I strongly recommend to those who have time, to participate in the programs and be mentors, it is very significant and can really change the future of another person." And besides, he also finds time to play basketball, study Torah and play guitar and piano.

And what's next? "Next year I am starting a post-doctorate at Northeastern University in Boston under the supervision of Prof. Lazlo Brabashi on the subject of medical networks. I hope that in the future the field of networks will significantly improve our lives in all aspects in which it is relevant."

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