Coe College Chapter Recognizes Dr. John Salzer

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Coe College Chapter Recognizes Dr. John Salzer


Ugur Akgun

The Coe College Sigma Pi Sigma chapter in Cedar Rapids, IA, has recognized Dr. John Salzer with a Sigma Pi Sigma Outstanding Service Award for his outstanding success as an astronomer and educator.

Coe College Alumnus Dr. John Salzer, Chair of the Astronomy Department at Indiana University (IU). Photo courtesy of IU.Salzer, Chair of the Indiana University Astronomy Department, graduated from the Coe College Physics Department in 1980. After completing an MS degree in physics from Iowa State University, he got a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Michigan. Salzer completed postdoctoral research positions at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and at the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson, AZ. Salzer has earned numerous honors, including being named by President Clinton as a Presidential Faculty Fellow in 1995. Before his current post, he served as professor and department chair at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Salzer has been a loyal graduate of the Coe physics program in many notable ways including student support, contributions to Peterson Hall, and more.

The award ceremony was held April 21, 2013, during the 34th annual Coe College Physics Banquet. Seven new members were inducted into the Coe chapter that evening as well.

Following the award ceremony, Salzer gave an intriguing talk to more than 50 physics students, alumni and faculty attending the banquet. Salzer’s talk covered his recent findings on chemical abundances in galaxies and star-formation in the nearby universe. Students were fascinated by the latest results from his study that indicated new information about the age of massive, luminous galaxies.

After the banquet, Salzer also hosted a Café Scientifique titled “Expanding Universe.” This was the second Café Scientifique organized by the Coe College Physics Department, after last spring’s event on the Large Hadron Collider. Salzer discussed the experimental findings on the accelerated expansion of the universe and possibilities for how the known universe will end. The challenging topic initiated a very heated question-and-answer session with the audience, which included the general public.

All members of the Coe College Physics Department and the Sigma Pi Sigma chapter were delighted to listen to Salzer, and to recognize him as model alumnus.

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