Moore and Schermerhorn Receive Engineering Awards
The 2017 College of Engineering Recognition Banquet was held on November 17th. Several Department faculty, emeriti faculty, and staff attended. Two members of the physics community were honored that evening for contributions to the profession of engineering and to the teaching of engineering students.
Dr. Duncan Moore (BA ’69) received the 2017 Edward T. Bryand Distinguished Engineering Award. This award is given to an individual outside the University who has brought distinction to the profession of engineering, including research and public service.
Dr. Moore is the Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester, as well as the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor of Optical Engineering, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and a Professor in the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester. His major area of research expertise is gradient-optics materials.
His impressive career highlights include being appointed the Associate Director for Technology in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, under the Executive Office of the President, from 1997-2000. He also chaired the Hubble Independent Optical Review Panel (1990) to determine the prescription for the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Moore was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 1998, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree here at UMaine in 1995. He is more than deserving of the Bryand Distinguished Engineering Award.
Dr. Moore entered optics through a passion for astronomy. While at UMaine he worked at the planetarium and the observatory, and was one of the parties ultimately responsible for moving the Astronomy program from the Department of Mathematics to the Department of Physics.
In addition, the Department was honored to have Dr. Moore give the Colloquium that afternoon. He also toured the Emera Astronomy Center.
The second Physics and Astronomy awardee of the evening was Ph.D. candidate Benjamin Schermerhorn, who received the Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Ben earned the award for his “unrivaled” dedication to the teaching side of his graduate career. As a Head TA for PHY 121 and 122, the calculus-based introductory course sequence required for engineering majors, Ben has been a great help to the instructors and the students, going above and beyond in multiple ways, from checking homework solutions for instructors to meeting with students outside of regular office hours to just being an excellent TA. He uses his intellect and strong professional passion and competence to move the teaching of these important and foundational courses forward in a meaningful, thoughtful, and productive way. One remarkable theme in student evaluation comments for Ben (other than one student calling him “the bomb.dot.com”) is that Ben inspires confidence in the students. This is not a common phrase seen in student evaluations. The PHY 121/122 sequence can often be a challenging environment, and building student confidence is at least as important as helping students learn physics. Ben’s instructional dedication and passion have helped students in both of these, and this demonstrates why he received this award.