Awards, Promotions & Recognition: 2011-2012

Our world-class faculty are renowned scholars, recognized both nationally & internationally for their research achievements. in 2011 and 2012, many were recognized for their achievements in research and teaching.

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Chairman ’s Welcome

Hello Friends,

Welcome to the fall 2012 edition of Spectrum, the newsletter of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah. In this edition, we are pleased to highlight the growth of the various research, teaching, and public outreach programs in our department. Key developments include the creation of the six-year, $20 million NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), led by Profs. Valy Vardeny and Brian Saam of our Department, and the recent $1 million Keck Foundation Award to Prof. John Belz for development of a novel radio detection technique for high energy cosmic rays. The department has welcomed two new tenure-track faculty members in Condensed Matter Research; Prof. Dimytro Pesin (University of Texas Austin, Theoretical Condensed Matter) and Prof. Vikram Deshpande (Columbia University, Experimental Condensed Matter). The department facilities have undergone major renovations, including a rebuild of the JFB Rotunda lecture halls, renovations to the second floor library, and addition of a $750k five-axis CNC machining center to the research facilities. The department also has increased its outreach to the general community through public science events centered upon the annular Solar eclipse, the transit of Venus across the sun, and the recent landing of the rover `Curiosity’ on Mars.

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Science Night Live: John Belz

On November 10, at Keys on Main, research professor John Belz gave his presentation “Desert Rain: Particle Astrophysics Under Utah Skies” as part of the College of Science’s Science Night Live Lecture series. The previous Science Night Live presentation given from a member of the department was “Stellar Imaging: Back to the Future” presented by Professor Stephan LeBohec in April 2009.

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Engineer etches microscopic U of U medallion

Appeared on September 14th, 2010. Images & text reprinted with permission. Article available here.

SALT LAKE CITY -- A University of Utah fan expressed his Ute pride in a tiny way. An engineer created a golden University of Utah logo that is smaller than the width of an average human hair at less than three-one-thousandths of an inch.

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W.L. Eccles Observatory

by Kyle Dawson - Development Chairman

Thanks to the generous support of the W.L. Eccles Foundation and E.R. and E.W. Dumke Foundation, the Department of Physics and Astronomy finished the construction of the new Willard L. Eccles Telescope at Frisco Peak Observatory in October 2009. The significant investment in this new telescope has already started paying dividends; the department has made pristine observations of supernovae, gravitationally lensed quasars, and clusters of galaxies. Our faculty are thrilled that the quality of the data is superior to any other telescope of its size in the continental United States. These new images were used for student projects in a new course in observational astronomy taught by Prof. Kyle Dawson.

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