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Help us build the future.


Donations to the College of Science enable deserving science students to make their education a reality. Most gifts made to the College of Science are under $1,000. But together they add up to millions for financial aid, academics, research, and other programs. Together we can make a difference. Recently, many donors have doubled the impact of their investments by using matching donation programs. In these cases, supporters of the college will match the gift dollar-for-dollar, doubling the donation.

For more information on contact one of our development team.

Jeff Martin

Executive Director for Institutional Advancement

Jeff Martin

Executive Director for Institutional Advancement
 801-581-4852
 martin@science.utah.edu

Eliot Wilcox

Associate Director for Institutional Advancement

Eliot Wilcox

Associate Director for Institutional Advancement
  801-581-4360
 wilcox@science.utah.edu

James (Jim) DeGooyer

Major Gifts Officer

James (Jim) DeGooyer

Major Gifts Officer
 801-581-3124
 jdegooyer@science.utah.edu

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Bert VanderHeiden

Bert VanderHeiden


Bert VanderHeiden’s (BS Physics ’82, MS Physics ’84 and Ph.D. Physics ‘88) first passions were swimming and water polo. In fact, he won the state championship in swimming in 1975, representing Kearns High School. He was also gifted academically—he excelled in math and was interested in the one physics course that was offered at his high school. The class planted the seed for his decision to major in physics.

When it came time for college, VanderHeiden had received a number of swimming scholarships from other universities. But he wanted a university with a strong science and engineering program, and the U fit the bill perfectly. He came to the U and never looked back. He’s proud to be a U alumnus and is even more proud of his wife and daughters, who are also graduates of the university.

“As a first-generation college student and graduate, having a physics degree has been life changing,” said VanderHeiden. “The degree has opened multiple opportunities professionally and provided a foundation for a career in areas that I found interesting and rewarding. Having a physics degree has given me an incredible amount of knowledge about the nature of the universe and the world around us.”

Favorite professors at the U

One of his favorite professors in the Physics Department was the late Dr. Gale Dick. He found Dr. Dick approachable, and he appreciated his way of encouraging students to ask questions until they fully understood the concepts. “I took full advantage of this opportunity to learn whatever I could from him,” said VanderHeiden.

While pursuing a master’s degree in physics, he worked as a swim coach for a youth competitive swim team. He still enjoys sports, and his competitive nature helped to push him through his education and career.

During grad school, he worked as a graduate assistant under the direction of Emeritus Professor Craig Taylor. VanderHeiden’s research focused on magnetic resonance to study semiconductor structure, with a primary focus on amorphous silicon. Amorphous silicon is a form of silicon that is non-crystallized and disordered, meaning that some of the atoms in its chemical structure resist bonding. Amorphous silicon is used in manufacturing thin films for coating a variety of electronic components and also can be applied to glass, plastic, and metals.

Hercules Aerospace and others

VanderHeiden (far left) and flight demo of innovative pulse jet engine.

While working on his Ph.D., a chance recruiting ad from Hercules Aerospace, in West Valley City, Utah, caught his eye. “Hercules was seeking a scientist to explore the possibly of using magnetic resonance in industrial applications. These were the same techniques I was using to study semi-conductors,” said VanderHeiden.

Over the next three years, he was able to continue his classes and research while working at Hercules. After he received his doctorate in 1988, VanderHeiden had an opportunity to do postdoctoral research in amorphous silicon at the National Laboratories. It was a tough choice, but he decided to stay at Hercules because he had been working on several other technical areas of interest for the company and felt the direct application was more suited to his work.

Hercules merged with Orbital ATK, which later merged to become Northrop Grumman. While working for these companies, VanderHeiden’s career progressed from an individual technical contributor to leading a large organization as the vice president of engineering and technology. Eventually, he served as vice president and general manager of operations and later was promoted to vice president of the military and launch segment. “I was fortunate to have a 36-year career working in a highly technical and focused company,” he said. “I had an opportunity to work on products, such as rockets and missiles to advanced aerostructures.”

VanderHeiden is a founding board member of the Utah Stem Action Center, where he served from 2014 to 2020. The center is a public and private partnership with a mission of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education by identifying and supporting best practices and leveraging resources across education, industry, government, and community partners to support economic prosperity.

Today, VanderHeiden is retired, although he serves as chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors for a startup tech company called North American Wave Engine Corporation. Wave engines are a class of aircraft engines that operate using pressure waves instead of rotating machinery. Intermittent combustion inside a hollow tube produces pressure waves that push hot gases and produce thrust. As a result, wave engines can operate without the use of any moving parts.

Advice for students

“A degree only starts your journey,” he said. “Remember to keep an open mind and understand your passions. Ask yourself what will keep you engaged and motivated. Will your long-term career goals keep you fulfilled, and will this journey fit you and your personality? Then aggressively explore various career options in academia and industry that fit your future.”

VanderHeiden’s life has taken him full circle now, allowing him to return to his love of sports. “I have more time to spend working out, playing water polo, and wake boarding at Lake Powell,” he said. He also enjoys boating, fishing, skiing, and traveling. “My sense of competition keeps me engaged in weightlifting competitions with my grandsons, even though they outdo me. My love of the water and the sky are still my greatest passions. I enjoy those evenings at Lake Powell, lying on the houseboat and looking up at the stars. I’m still inspired by this world and the universe.”

by Michelle Swaner first published at physics.utah.edu

Physics Innovation

Yue Zhao receives Physics Innovation Award

Yue Zhao, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has received a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Fundamental Physics Innovation Award, in association with the American Physical Society. This award supports extended visits between researchers to learn, develop, and share techniques or scientific approaches.

The goal of the award is to stimulate ideas on innovative ways in which emerging technologies can be used to address pressing problems in the physics of fundamental particles and interactions. The rapid developments in quantum-sensing technologies keep pushing the limits of the precision frontier, and some of them provide ideal platforms to search for dark matter candidates.

“The award will allow me to collaborate with experimentalists,” said Zhao, “and investigate the possibilities of applying these fascinating technologies to search for dark matter candidates, especially in the ultralight mass regime, such as axions and dark photons. This award provides travel support for me to visit these experimental labs in order to exchange ideas and gain a more comprehensive understanding about the experimental setup.” He plans to visit a lab at Nanjing University in China.

Particle physics is a discipline within the field that studies the nature of the smallest detectable particles that make up matter and radiation. The Standard Model is the theory that explains what these particles are and how they interact with each other. It was developed by scientists during the 1970s. While the Standard Model explains a lot about the laws of physics, it isn’t able to explain all phenomena, including dark matter.

Zhao studied advanced physics at Peking University and moved to Rutgers University to pursue a Ph.D. He joined the University of Utah in July 2018.

 

By Michele Swaner, first published @ physics.utah.edu

William D. Ohlsen

In Memoriam: Emeritus Professor William D. Ohlsen

Emeritus Professor William David Ohlsen died peacefully at his home in Salt Lake City on August 9, 2021, following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He joined the University of Utah faculty in 1961, where he spent 36 years teaching physics and mentoring graduate students. We will miss him.

His research at the U involved the study of defects and dopants in crystalline and amorphous semiconducting solids. Amorphous silicon, crystalline III-V semiconductors, and chalcogenides were the subjects of other investigations.

Bill was born June 8, 1932 in Evanston, Illinois, to Wilma and Edward Ohlsen and grew up in Ames, Iowa.

Bill graduated from Iowa State University in 1954 with a B.S. in Physics and received a Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University in 1961.

Bill was introduced to the love of his life, Ruth Bradford, in 1955 by Ruth's sister Nancy. Following months of exchanging letters and phone calls, they met for the first time in person on January 1, 1956. They spent a total of four days in each other's presence before marrying on June 16, 1956 in a double wedding ceremony with Nancy and John Clark, Bill's boyhood neighbor and lifelong friend.

Bill was an enthusiastic traveler, visiting twenty-two countries over the course of his life, including two sabbatical trips to Germany. An avid lover of the outdoors, Bill enjoyed skiing, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, camping, backpacking, and running. At home, he enjoyed classical music, a good book, a good basketball game, and a good beer. He also loved puzzles and games, including chess, sudoku, and the Wall Street Journal Saturday crossword.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth Bradford Ohlsen; three daughters, Diane Ohlsen Guest, Patricia Ohlsen Horton, and Lynn Ohlsen Craig; nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and his sister, Anita Wald Tuttle.

Bill cared deeply about the environment and lived his principles. For example, he walked or rode his bike to work every day of his life, composted, recycled, participated in highway trash collections, and chose to avoid air travel to the extent possible. Bill will be remembered by all who knew him for his humility, generosity, wisdom, and kindness.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Save Our Canyons. Visit http://saveourcanyons.org for more information.

 

Adapted from The Salt Lake Tribune by Michele Swaner, first published @ physics.utah.edu

Earning potential

Help us build the future.


Designed by the firm of Young & Hansen, construction was begun in early 1918.

While the building was under construction, it was used as temporary housing for soldiers during WWI as there was a cooperative agreement between the Army and the University to house military personnel during the war.

Although its original use was as temporary housing, it was intended to be used as the Stewart Training School after WWI. This building housed the Stewart Training School from 1919 until 1966. It was officially named the William M. Stewart Building in 1968.

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Outreach Opportunities

Help us build the future.


Designed by the firm of Young & Hansen, construction was begun in early 1918.

While the building was under construction, it was used as temporary housing for soldiers during WWI as there was a cooperative agreement between the Army and the University to house military personnel during the war.

Although its original use was as temporary housing, it was intended to be used as the Stewart Training School after WWI. This building housed the Stewart Training School from 1919 until 1966. It was officially named the William M. Stewart Building in 1968.

>> back <<

 

Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities


Designed by the firm of Young & Hansen, construction was begun in early 1918.

While the building was under construction, it was used as temporary housing for soldiers during WWI as there was a cooperative agreement between the Army and the University to house military personnel during the war.

Although its original use was as temporary housing, it was intended to be used as the Stewart Training School after WWI. This building housed the Stewart Training School from 1919 until 1966. It was officially named the William M. Stewart Building in 1968.

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Economic Impact

Science Drives the economy 


The economic benefits of this project should not be understated. Science and Mathematics are significant contributors to the economy. An example of this is a 2018 Gardner Policy Institute study which found life sciences companies make significant economic impacts in Utah, indirectly supporting 6.7 percent of the state’s employment, 5.9 percent of its personal income, and 7.9 percent of its gross domestic product. Total economic impacts were 130,439 jobs, $7.6 billion in personal income, and $13.0 billion in GDP. In 2017, the average compensation per employee in the life sciences industry was $86,396.

Programs such as the new Science Research Initiative provide our undergraduate students with the real-world research experience that is so valuable in today’s economy. SRI participants graduate with a huge advantage over their counterparts in other programs.

The U of U is Utah’s number one educator of science students. Every engineer, every nurse and doctor, every scientist and chemist, every bio lab technician and statistician created in this university must first pass through the College of Science in preparation for a STEM-based career. In 2017, 49% of STEM degrees awarded by Utah System of Higher Education institutions were from the University of Utah. The Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Program is the only one in the state.

We are creating rare, valuable job skills at the College of Science, and we need to expand this cross-disciplinary science and math education. In short, this new Science Center will revitalize the University of Utah campus, and is vital if Utah is to build its national potential as a leader in science.

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How to Get Involved

Help us build the future


Legacy Giving

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Crimson Laureate

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Contact Us

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Science Campus

The Science Campus


 

 

Crocker Science Center

The home of cutting-edge science

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Thatcher Building

The Department of Chemistry.

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Henry Eyring Building

The Department of Chemistry.

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Cowles Building

The Department of Mathematics.

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Skaggs Building

The School of Biological Sciences.

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South Biology

The School of Biological Sciences.

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Fletcher Building

The Department of Physics & Astronomy.

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Widtsoe Building

The Department of Mathematics.

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South Physics Building

The Department of Physics & Astronomy.

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James Talmage Building

The School of Biological Sciences.

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