Passing of two emeritus faculty

We note the passing of two emeritus faculty who were longtime and central members of the department from the early 1960s to the late 2000s, both shaping the department in teaching, research, and sense of community.

Gerald Harmon, Associate Professor Emeritus of Physics, passed away in August 2023. Jerry received his B.A. in Physics in 1953 from the University of Maine and his Ph. D. in Physics from Texas A&M University in 1962. He taught in the department for 44 years until his retirement. His research interests included radio frequency discharges in gases as well as plasma physics and electron multipacting. He mentored many graduate student. He was a kind and gentle soul who helped build the department. Jerry’s obituary can be found here.

Charles “Skip” Smith, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Cooperating Professor Emeritus of Engineering, passed away in January 2024. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Allegheny College in 1962 his PhD in Experimental Physics, specializing in Condensed Matter Physics, from Ohio University in 1968. He started at UMaine in 1968. He taught generations of physics and engineering physics students, with a long-time assignment to the introductory calculus-based courses, mentored sixteen graduate students, and served as department chair for six years. Simultaneously, he continued his research in low temperature physics, publishing more than 70 papers. During his tenure at the university he received the Excellence in Teaching Award in the Physical Sciences, Francis Crowe Society membership, twice given the College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence, and the James and Maureen Emeriti Faculty Award, and was selected as a Distinguished Maine Professor, the highest honor bestowed on a faculty member. He was a great source of institutional memory and a wise advisor to successive department chairs. The department is much better for his experience, wisdom, and guidance as it grew during his time here. Skip’s obituary can be found here.