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Results of the Department of Physics & Astronomy Review Released

In October 2017 we experienced the tragic death of one of our graduate students.  As a department we vowed to learn from this tragedy and to improve our graduate program. The university commissioned an outside review of all issues and concerns related to the experience of graduate students on our campus.  More details are available here. We are strictly following the department-related recommendations of the review and directives from the administration to help our students succeed in the best way we can.


Anil Seth Receives Early Career Teaching Award

Anil Seth

Associate Professor Anil Seth has received a 2016 Early Career Teaching Award from the University of Utah. This award is given each year to only a few faculty members at the University of Utah for "distinction in teaching, demonstrated by activities that result in increased learning by students, such as the development of new methods or other curricular innovation"

With his passion for teaching astronomy, Anil has opened the Universe to our students and our community in imaginative and effective ways.


"Hidden Figures" & NASA Lecture: March 30, 2018

Margot Lee Shetterly & Dr. Ellen Stofan

Margot Lee Shetterly

Kingsbury Hall

In Partnership with the MUSE Project

Margot Lee Shetterly, best-selling author of Hidden Figures, and Dr. Ellen Stofan, former Chief Scientist at NASA, meet to discuss empowerment and the vital importance of women and people of color in STEM.

Margot Lee Shetterly is the best-selling author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. In her book, Shetterly tells the true story of women of color who made outstanding contributions to NASA in the 1950s and 1960s despite institutional discrimination and prejudice. The book was adapted for the big screen in the award-winning 2016 movie Hidden Figures.

In 2013, Shetterly founded The Human Computer Project, an organization whose mission is to archive the work of all the women who worked as computers and mathematicians in the early days of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Dr. Ellen Stofan is a professor, researcher, and scientist who served as NASA's Chief Scientist from 2013 to 2017. In that role, she was the principal advisor to the NASA Administrator on the agency's strategic planning and programs. Prior to becoming Chief Scientist, she held senior positions at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and New Millennium Program. Stofan is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London and co-chair of the World Economic Space Council. She holds master's and doctoral degrees in geological sciences from Brown University and is an outspoken champion of young women and people of color who seek careers in STEM.

Show Dates: Mar 30 @ 11:30 am

Tickets are free. There is a max of 2 tickets per order.

Click here to get tickets or to learn more:


CUWiP: Women in Physics

An Unprecedented Number of Undergrads Attend Annual Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

Our accomplished students, speaking and presenting at the 2018 CUWiP at Arizona State University


In January, nine women physics students from the Department of Physics & Astronomy traveled to the American Physical Society Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) at Arizona State University.  ASU is one of 12 institutions in North America that hosted more than 2,000 undergraduate attendees for simultaneous three day conferences consisting of science talks, panel discussions, workshops, and lab tours, all with the goal of providing women and gender minorities access to information and resources that will help them continue in science careers. The 2018 APS CUWiPs were held January 12-14, 2018.  This year, our own Pearl Sandick, an associate professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, served as chair of the APS CUWiP National Organizing Committee.  In addition to working throughout the year to ensure an impactful conference experience for attendees at all conference sites, she also represented the APS at the  University of Oregon CUWiP, where she facilitated two types of workshops. One workshop was an APS program called Step Up 4 Women, which hopes to address the underrepresentation of women in physics at the undergraduate level and beyond by reaching out to high school physics teachers and giving them research-based tools to encourage women to become physics majors in college. The second workshop was on professional skills for women in science, and discussed practical skills to help attendees perform quality research and flourish in a variety of physics career settings.  The University of Utah hosted an APS CUWiP in 2014, and we look forward to welcoming the CUWiPs back to Utah in 2019, when Utah State University will be one of the host institutions.

From the American Physical Society:

"The goal of CUWiP is to help undergraduate women continue in physics by providing them with an opportunity to experience a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to other women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas."


To learn more about the conference, check out this feature about last year’s conferences and our local attendees.


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