Each spring the university hosts the Chancellor's Honors Banquet to recognize the students, faculty, and staff dedicated to all aspects of UT's mission: teaching, research, outreach, and service. At the 2019 ceremony on April 16, physics faculty and students were among the honorees.
The Hesler Award is named for a longtime head of the botany department who also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Hesler’s students, colleagues, and friends established this memorial award to recognize exceptional teaching and service.
Professor and Associate Head Marianne Breinig was the 2019 Hesler Award honoree. As her award biography reads, she has produced about a quarter of all student credit hours in the physics department over the past three years and has trained others in her successful teaching techniques. Breinig also coordinates the physics department's summer research fellowship program for undergraduates, directs the department's graduate program, and has served on numerous department and university committees, including the UT Faculty Senate. In 2004 and again in 2005 the UT Chapter of the Society of Physics Students presented her with the department's Teacher of the Year Award, and in 2016 she won the James R. and Nell W. Cunningham Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Undergraduate Researcher of the Year award honors a junior or senior who has demonstrated excellence in undergraduate research through independent inquiry, classes, and student employment.
Brandon Barker, who will graduate this spring with a double major in math and physics and a minor in astronomy, is the 2019 awardee. He has been an active member of the department's Society of Physics Students, volunteering with their outreach efforts at local schools and venues, and has won numerous department and UT awards. In 2016 he won a Robert Lide Citation for his contributions to the physics department laboratories; in 2017 he won the Robert Talley Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research; and in 2018 he was awarded the James W. McConnell Award for Academic Excellence. In 2018 he was recognized with Chancellor's Honors for both Extraordinary Academic Achievement and Extraordinary Professional Promise. In 2018 he won a national Society of Physics Students Leadership Scholarship. His research interests lie in characterizations of the supernova explosion mechanism and gravitational wave astrophysics, and, in particular, the intersection of these fields.
The Top Collegiate Scholar Awards honor undergraduates who exhibit extraordinary scholarship. Senior physics major Kevin Kleiner was among the awardees in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2018 he won a Chancellor's Honor for Extraordinary Academic Achievement and in 2016 he was won the Outstanding First Year Physics Student Award.
These honors are awarded to undergraduates who exhibit extraordinary scholarship. Physics students recognized were:
- Noah Crum
- Samuel Feldman
- John Floyd
- Brandi Skipworth
These honors are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions.Physics students recognized were:
- Ian Cox
- Noah Crum
- Joseph Heideman
- Xiaobin Lu
- Andrew Mogan
- James Neuhaus