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21.05.2023 | א סיון התשפג

Simply Explaining Complex Physical Networks

Bnaya Gross, a Presidential Fellow of Excellence, has published 15 articles and a book, and has presented his work at nine conferences


Meet Bnaya Gross, a student in BIU’s Presidential Fellowship of Excellence program, 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 natural and technological networks depend on each other and do not occur in isolation. Researchers developed and studied a new paradigm describing interdependencies between different networks, such as infrastructure networks consisting of electricity and communication.

"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, while still retaining the ability to simply explain the complex phenomena that appear in it."

Gross fondly recalls his research and studies at Bar-Ilan and its Department of Physics: "The courses are interesting, and the faculty is attentive to students' needs. I would especially mention my supervisor, Prof. Havlin, who, in addition to being one of the leading researchers in the world, listens to students and always shows up with a welcoming smile. He cares for the social atmosphere in the laboratory as much as he cares for the research atmosphere, and we often found ourselves prolonging our stay at the lab for the social experience rather than research.”

The Presidential Fellowship that Gross was granted allows him to invest most of his time in research and academic work. To date, he has published 15 articles and a book, and has presented his work at nine conferences. This year he won the Monique C. and Mordecai D. Katz Graduate Fellowship for outstanding PhD students, and last year he received the Rector's Prize for Excellent Students.

"Our article,  in collaboration with Prof. Aviad Frydman's research group, was recently published in Nature Physics," Gross says, "we managed to prove, for the very first time after a decade long of theoretical research on interdependent networks, how this paradigm can be implemented in the laboratory using an interdependent superconducting networks systems. These systems have possible applications of multilayer materials, innovative, and sensitive detectors."


Along with his studies, Gross found time to contribute to the community. "During my doctorate I volunteered in the Yoel program that operates in Bar-Ilan and helps promote students from the Ethiopian community. |If you have time, I strongly recommend becoming a mentor with the program; it is incredibly significant and can change one’s future". Additionally, he also finds time to play basketball, study Torah, and play the guitar and the piano.

Next year, Bnaya will begin his medical networks post-doctorate at Northeastern University in Boston under the guidance of Prof. Laszlo Barabasi.

Bnaya hopes that the field of networks will significantly improve lives in a wide array of relevant spheres.