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Maria Cranor (1946 – 2023)

We are sorry to  report that Maria Cranor, former departmentInstructor, died January 15 of natural causes. She led a storiedlife. Perhaps some of you saw Julie Jag’s excellent article in theSports section of the January 27 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune( her.  After a career as a legendary climber, as a co-founder ofBlack Diamond, and as its Vice President of Marketing, at age 50 sheenrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Utah in order toearn enough credits to complete her bachelor’s degree fromU.C. Berkeley.  She took our physics classes, despite having donescarcely any math since she was a young Berkeley student. She didsuperbly.  With her B.S. in hand, she succeeded in earning admissionto our graduate program and worked with gravitational theorist RichardPrice, a former professor in our department. At the time, Price hadbeen developing a forward-looking undergraduate applied-physicscurriculum ˜that integrated theory, experiment, and computing.  One ofits key courses was Physics 4910, “Technical Communication andScientific Judgement”.  Maria became involved in developing thecurriculum, but especially Physics 4910.  It debuted in Spring 2001.The course involved selected readings, lots of writing with instructorfeedback, a project, and oral presentations. Class periods weredevoted mostly to lively discussions of the reading and in-classwriting exercises. Maria was the instructor over a period of aboutfifteen years, although on occasion, she shared that role with Priceand with Professor Carleton DeTar.  The applied physics courses turned out tobe too forward-looking to interest the School of Engineering, so theyfaded away, but Physics 4910 survived for a long time in Maria’scare. She was passionate about the mission of the course, and she wasexpert at applying effective pedagogical methods to help studentsrealize those goals.  Students gave her rave reviews.  The Tribunearticle mentions that Mike Call, local videographer, is puttingtogether a documentary about her. Her friends have postedremembrances on a Kudoboard . She was an inspirationto all who knew her.