SPS Outstanding Chapter Advisor
Cristian Bahrim graduated from University of Bucharest in 1991. Between 1992 and 1997 he pursued Ph.D. studies at the University of Paris-Sud (France), as French Government Scholar, in the field of Atomic Collisions and Interactions, and received the Ph.D. degree, in 1997. After 3 years as post-doc at Kansas State University, in 2001 he moved to Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where he got tenured in 2008 and became full professor in 2015. From 2005, he held a joint-appointment position with the Phillip M. Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering. In 2017, Dr. Bahrim became Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) after being for five years member of the OUR Advisory Board. Dr. Bahrim organized two Texas STEM conferences for UG students in fall 2017 and 2018, and helped with many other OUR activities. In 2016 he was the Chair of the Joint Spring Meeting of Texas Sections of APS, AAPT and SPS Zone 13, and will chair another similar event in March 2020. He was member of organizing committees for several national and international conferences, and also invited speaker to conferences in US, China, Japan, and Germany. He published research in several high-impact peer-reviewed journals (including Phys. Rev. Lett., Phys Rev. A, Journal of Physics), books, and conference proceedings, and in many he is co-authoring with his students.
Dr. Bahrim dedicated the last 18 years mainly to mentoring undergraduate students willing to work on research projects. He mentored more than 200 UG students in various projects from quantum mechanics, to atomic collisions and interactions, slowing down light, atomic depolarization, formation of excimers with light rare gases, atomic spectroscopy, crystallography, and light-matter interaction, in particular in optoelectronics. Dr. Bahrim supervised well over one hundred student research presentations to many national, state and local conferences. In particular, he supervised three Goldwater scholars; directed eight McNair scholars; had the first undergraduate student representing Lamar at Poster on the Hill event, in Washington DC, and mentored the only Lamar recipient of the Texas State University System Regents’ Student Scholar Award. He also led three Beck fellows (the most prestigious fellowship offered to Lamar undergraduates) and mentored three students selected in the four years of Lamar’s participation at the Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in Austin, an event organized every other year by the Council of Public University Presidents & Chancellors in Texas. He also helped to start the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Symposium at Rice University. Dr. Bahrim was the recipient of 2015 Mentor of the Year at Lamar and he was named three times Outstanding Mentor for the McNair program.
Dr. Bahrim has been the SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma advisor since 2012. In the past 5 years he led the SPS Lamar chapter to unprecedented achievements, such as four outstanding SPS chapter awards (2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18), one distinguished chapter (2014-15), two UG Research Awards (2013 and 2016), one White Marsh Award (2017), and one Sigma Pi Sigma Award (2019). Dr. Bahrim made possible to have three Lamar students participating and presenting at the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress in Orlando, and six students at the 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress in San Francisco (see the article published in Beaumont Business Journal, volume 8, issue 11, from January 13, 2018 http://archives.etypeservices.com/Beaumont2/Magazine199769/Full/files/assets/common/downloads/publication.pdf ). There are several articles published in the SPS Observer about his students, the awards they received and the research they done at Lamar.
Dr. Bahrim was very active in leading honors students in research projects. Thus, in the past 9 years, Dr. Bahrim mentored several dozen honors students, and many of them presented either posters or talks at the National Collegiate Honors Conference (NCHC), the National Council for Undergraduate Research (NCUR), the Great Plains Honors Conference (GPHC), as well as at the EXPO conference organized by OUR at Lamar University. Dr. Bahrim trained four teams of students to participate to the International University Physics Competition and helped to secure one bronze medal, one silver medal, and one accomplished competitor. As joint appointment with the Electrical Engineering program at Lamar, Dr. Bahrim mentored many EE students who received awards and recognitions, the most notable being two first places in IEEE Region 5 paper competition.
Dr. Bahrim was co-PI on a National Science Foundation grant, under the DUE Directorate (from 2009 to 2014) and for the exceptional results obtained on this grant (including the significant increase in the graduation rate in Physics at Lamar) he was co-recipient of the 2013 STAR Award from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (this is one of the only two such recognitions received by Lamar). Dr. Bahrim secured almost $250,000 in student stipends and travel support over the last 10 years.
Many of his apprentices in research ended with Ph.D. degrees from prestigious universities such as Arizona State University, Rice University, University of Central Florida, or Louisiana State University. He also mentored and inspired several students to become physics high school teachers. These results came through a constant enthusiastic engagement in outreach activities, both on-campus and off campus, including many field trips done with his students to high school and middle schools, where he offered exciting activities from simple demos to sophisticated lab experiments. He was involved for several years in the Bernard Harris ExxonMobil Summer Camp and in many events organized by the regional CAST, Workforce Solutions, etc. He is now the President of the Texas Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the site leader for PhysTEC. He is also visiting professor for the Summer China Program at Shanghai International Studies University, where he teaches general physics. At Lamar, Dr. Bahrim teaches classical and modern physics, and optics/photonics. For Dr. Bahrim working with UG students in both teaching and research is the most rewarding experience.