Two Bowdoin physics professors have been honored for their “significant contributions to scholarship at the college.” Professors Stephen Naculich and Thomas Baumgarte have been awarded named chairs by Bowdoin president Clayton Rose. Baumgarte has been appointed the William R. Kenan Professor of Physics, while Naculich is now the LaCasce Family Professor of Natural Sciences.
“It’s a great honor to have my work, both scholarship and teaching, being recognized in this way by the College,” says Baumgarte. “In addition to this recognition, a named chair also comes with a yearly allowance of up to $2,000 in support of research and teaching, which will certainly be helpful – I’m very grateful for that.”
In 2012 Professor Baumgarte won a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel research prize from Germany’s Humboldt Foundation. The award helped Baumgarte spend an academic year on sabbatical in Germany working on problems in relativistic astrophysics.
Professor Stephen Naculich says he’s “flattered” to be named the first LaCasce professor, named in honor of the late professor Elroy LaCasce ’44, who died in September.
“Right up until his passing,” says Naculich, “Roy loomed large in the life of the physics department, first as a student at Bowdoin, and then during his long career as professor, chair of the department, and as emeritus professor.” Naculich says LaCasce in many ways fundamental shaped the physics department. “I can only aspire to live up to his legacy.”
Professor Naculich was last year awarded a Simons Foundation Fellowship in Theoretical Physics – one of 14 recipients and the only one from a predominantly undergraduate institution.
Bowdoin President Clayton Rose says he made the appointments on the recommendation of the Dean for Academic Affairs Jennifer Scanlon, and after consulting with the senior members of the Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure.
Dean Scanlon says Bowdoin is fortunate to have two such eminent scholar-teachers. “On top of their reputations as physicists, Steve in particle physics and Thomas in relativity,” she adds, “they are renowned teachers and mentors. That they are close friends as well as close colleagues makes this shared moment, I imagine, all the more special.”