The world held its breath as NASA’s multibillion-dollar Perseverance Rover landed successfully on Mars to look for signs of life—and to prepare for future human explorers last month. U alum Thomas Stucky, was one of the millions of people glued to NASA’s live stream of the harrowing landing. Stucky is a KBRWyle engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center where he wrote software for robotic drill arms similar to the ones on Perseverance, then tested them on extreme Earth locations that resemble the Martian landscape. Here is a Q&A with him.
The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) has awarded Ramón S. Barthelemy the Doc Brown Futures Award, an honor that recognizes early-career members who demonstrate excellence in their contributions to physics education and exhibit excellent leadership. Barthelemy, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah, is an early-career physicist with a record of groundbreaking scholarship and advocacy that has advanced the field of physics education research as it pertains to gender issues and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT)+ physicists.
Dr. Gail Zasowski, assistant professor of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been named a 2021 Cottrell Scholar. The Cottrell Scholar program, run by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, honors early-career faculty members for the quality and innovation of not only their research programs but also their educational activities and their academic leadership.
Refugee youth are particularly vulnerable to being disenfranchised from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The National Science Foundation has awarded University of Utah and Utah State University researchers $1.1 million over three years to study how refugee teenagers construct self-identities related to STEM across settings, such as physics research and creating digital stories, across relationships, such as peer, parent, and teacher, and across the languages they speak.
The U’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has received the Blake Lilly Prize by the national Society of Physics Students organization. The prize recognizes SPS chapters and individuals who make a genuine effort to positively influence attitudes about physics among school children and the general public.