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Physics Professor Named Presidential Scholar


Anil Seth

Associate professor, Anil Seth, has been named a Presidential Scholar

Four University of Utah faculty members, including Anil Seth from the Department of Physics & Astronomy, have been named Presidential Scholars. This award honors extraordinary research and academic efforts of early to mid-career faculty. The award provides these talented faculty with financial backing to support their scholarly, teaching and/or research initiatives.

The recipients are associate professor Seth; Jorge Contreras, professor, S.J. Quinney College of Law; Kathy Sward, associate professor, College of Nursing; and Micah Drummond, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training in the College of Health.

Seth is a passionate researcher and educator who is expanding our understanding of the formation and evolution of nearby galaxies. Seth and his group have discovered ten massive black holes at the centers of nearby galaxies—discoveries that help astronomers understand the formation of massive black holes.  His work uses the Hubble Space Telescope and other large ground-based observatories around the world, and his research has received substantial financial support from the National Science Foundation and NASA.

Since arriving at the U eight years ago, Seth and his group have led 18 peer-reviewed publications and he has co-authored 59 papers. He is regarded as an exemplary member of his department and played a key role in the recent changes to its undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as development of the new Dark Sky Studies minor. Seth is considered an outstanding educator and is also engaged with the community through outreach, including the creation an astronomy summer internship program that allows undergraduates interested in science education and communication to spend a summer providing free star programs at Bryce Canyon National Park.

“These scholars exemplify the high caliber work taking place at the University of Utah,” said Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “They are outstanding scholars, educators and members of our faculty. We are delighted to honor them and fortunate to have them working at the U.”

Presidential scholars are selected annually, and recipients receive funding for three years. The program is made possible by a generous donor who is interested in fostering the success of mid-career faculty. 

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Last Updated: 10/21/19