Armed with optimism and a degree in physics, Jim Kaschmitter BS’72, showed up for his first day on the job at Anaconda Copper’s Research Facility in Salt Lake City only to be told by his supervisor to go home because Chile had just nationalized its copper mines. Undeterred, Kaschmitter found a job with OmniLift Corporation, a Salt Lake City startup that was developing a new type of conveyor system in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the U. While working at the U, Kaschmitter bought one of the first Hewlett Packard HP25 calculators and became fascinated by computers. This fascination has led to a long and successful career in Silicon Valley.
Ramón Barthelemy, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, recently was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Building Capacity for STEM Education Research grant to complete a study on women in physics and to begin a new study on people of color in STEM programs at the University of Utah.
Dr. Pearl Sandick, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and associate dean of the College of Science, has been named a Presidential Scholar. The award recognizes the extraordinary academic accomplishments and promise of mid-career faculty, providing them with financial support to advance their teaching and research work.
The U has given a Beacons of Excellence Award to the REFUGES Afterschool and REFUGES Bridge Programs. Tino Nyawelo, associate professor (lecturer) of Physics & Astronomy, directs both REFUGES programs, and Jordan Gerton, associate professor of Physics & Astronomy and director of the Center for Science and Mathematics, administers them. The award is based on student nominations, with students describing both REFUGES programs as "an absolutely transformative educational experience."
The COVID-19 pandemic forced faculty, students, and staff at the university to shift in one week—literally over spring break in March—from traditional in-person lectures and student outreach to Zoom calls and online testing modules. Bryce Nelson, graduate coordinator for the Physics & Astronomy Department, rose to the challenge and has been awarded the U’s 2020 Online Excellence Staff Award by Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. Join us in congratulating her!