Isenhower Wins Prestigious Physics Award

Posted September 30, 2014

The American Physical Society (APS) has awarded Dr. Donald Isenhower the highly competitive 2015 Prize to A Faculty Member For Research In An Undergraduate Institution.

Isenhower, professor of engineering and physics at ACU, was selected from among thousands of faculty members connected with over 750 physics programs across the nation. The prize includes $10,000 and a certificate with the following citation:

For his essential contributions in hardware construction, installation, calibration and operation for experiments at LAMPF, FNAL, RHIC and at CERN, and for enthusiastic mentoring of a large number of undergraduate students while being recognized for outstanding teaching at the undergraduate level.

The award, sponsored by a grant from the Research Corporation, was established to honor a physicist whose research in an undergraduate setting significantly contributes to both the development of physics and the professional development of undergraduate physics students.

“This is a great honor for Donald, the Department of Engineering and Physics, and ACU,” says Dr. Rusty Towell, professor and chair of engineering and physics. “Our university is now part of a very small and elite group of schools that have been awarded this honor more than once.

“While Donald had the talents and ability to succeed at a larger research university, he is committed to Christian education and mentoring young scientists,” continues Towell. “Donald has spent his whole career helping to motivate and train undergraduate researchers. Donald’s encouragement and example has inspired students to pursue advanced degrees and commitments to Christian servant leadership.”

Dr. Jess Dowdy, professor and interim chair of the engineering and physics department, equates the award to “winning a Nobel Prize for research in physics at the undergraduate level.”

“ACU again tops the list of best departments in the nation with its second award for best undergraduate researcher,” says Dowdy.

Dr. Michael Sadler, ACU professor of engineering and physics and mentor to Isenhower, won the same prize in 1995.

Isenhower earned his B.S. in physics from ACU in 1981 and Ph.D. in high energy physics from Iowa State University in 1986. His extensive research includes work on the PHENIX, NIFFTE and SeaQuest experiments, as well as work in research laboratories such as Fermilab.

Additionally, research papers have cited 233 of Isenhower’s 240 publications more than 20,000 times. His most widely renowned paper also features the work of Towell and eight ACU undergraduates.

Isenhower will receive the award at a special ceremony during the APS April 2015 meeting in Baltimore. The announcement of the prize will be featured in the April 2015 issue of APS News.

The APS, a non-profit membership organization with more than 50,000 members, awards the prize annually.


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