Kenneth Ganezer: Hot Property
Kenneth Ganezer has been named one of the "Hottest" Researchers for the 2004-2005 calendar year by the Thomson Scientific Hot Papers database. An annual list, published in the March/April issue of Science Watch, placed the CSU Dominguez Hills professor of physics as sixth in the world with seven “hot” papers published in the last two years. The “hot” designation signifies papers that have achieved a rate of citations in scientific journals that is markedly higher than other papers of comparable type and age.
With 10 researchers named to the list, the United States boasts the most "hot" researchers of any nation. Japan comes in second in the 2004-2005 period with seven researchers. According to Ganezer, the presence of CSUDH as the only CSU and public institution in California on the Thomson list challenges the “paradigm” that we cannot compete with Research 1 (a classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, designating institutions where faculty are required to do research) institutions.
“This is an indicator that we can pursue research here,” he says. “More than anything, it should demonstrate that we need to pursue research. If we try hard enough, we can compete with the other educational institutions. We should realize that our students are no different than students anywhere else. They have the same desire for intellectual stimulation, and advancing themselves academically and intellectually, that they have at other places, they don’t just come here merely for vocational training, which some might think. If provided with direction, and with the needed effort, they can go on to succeed in graduate and professional programs”
“The CSU has to do that to support research to survive and prosper. We have to go about constructing the infrastructure, environment, and culture that is available in the private schools and in the UCs. We have faculty who can do excellent research as well as teach. The system needs to provide the needed institutional resources, and reward faculty for conducting research, involving students in research, and making the accomplishments visible.”
Ganezer, who is best known in international physics circles as part of the 10-year-long Super-Kamiokande project, which studies neutrino oscillations, nucleon decay, and neutrino astrophysics with a 50,000-ton ring-imaging detector in a tunnel beneath about 1,000 m of rock in Kamioka, Japan. Junior Daniel Guzman (Physics) and Edgar Lopez, a mechanical engineering major at CSU Long Beach, who is taking some classes at CSUDH, are assisting Ganezer with his Super-Kamiokande research. He has also been involved in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). The LIGO papers were on initial searches for gravitational waves, ripples in space and time, that yielded negative results from various astrophysical sources, including supernovas, gamma ray bursts, pulsars, and the big bang, using the LIGO detectors and associated observatories.
Ganezer’s latest research project on campus involves the first Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to a CSUDH-associated partnership to develop new patentable technology for biomedical engineering and medical imaging. To apply for the SBIR program, Ganezer and his collaborators had to form a company, which he named Applied Quantum Medical (AQM). The research, which will be conducted in the CSUDH physics lab, focuses on a diagnostic imaging device that would be used to monitor osteoporosis. Graduate student Katherine Hurst (Class of '03, M.S., Biology) of the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) assisted in the initial research that was used as the basis for this project which, in a later stage (a follow-up phase II SBIR project), would yield a new type of bone scanner. Senior Darling Nunez (Physics) is a current RISE student who is working on Ganezer’s NIH research involving radiological and acoustical techniques for quantitative measurements and biomedical imaging of bone.
“The idea behind the name AQM is that quantum physics is involved in medicine,” Ganezer says. “We use radiation as sparingly as we can, to minimize the exposure and related risks to patients.”
Ganezer, who worked in the UCLA radiological sciences department in 1986 prior to arriving at Dominguez Hills in 1990, emphasizes the relationship between advances in basic physics and in medical technology.
“Since modern medicine began, physics has been involved,” he says. “My field of specialization,
particle and nuclear physics, provides the basic science behind much of contemporary medical
technology. Ever since radioactivity was discovered by Henri Becquerel in 1896, x-rays and other types of radiation
have been used for diagnostic tests and for radiation therapy.”
Along those lines, Ganezer expresses the importance of exposing students to research opportunities, as part of the learning environment.
“There is a synergistic effect between teaching and research,” he says. “The element that distinguishes higher education from primary education is the fact that you’re being taught by people who are experts in a particular field. Research enhances the institution by stimulating learning and bringing about a complete learning environment where new knowledge is created as well as disseminated. Helping students to do things that they did not think they could achieve, prior to getting involved in our research, is one of our most rewarding and gratifying goals.”
- Joanie Harmon