North Central College - Naperville, IL

Adjunct professor, trustee receives national physics award

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Feb. 10, 2010--North Central College Adjunct Professor of Physics and Trustee Herman White Jr. of Naperville has been honored by the American Physical Society (APS) for his work in the field of physics, his public service and his role in mentoring students and fellow scientists.

White is a senior scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill. On Feb. 14, he will receive the 2010 Edward A. Bouchet Award, which recognizes "a distinguished minority physicist who has made significant contributions to physics research," according to APS. He will also give a lecture about his research at the award ceremony.

In addition to receiving the award and a stipend, White will be given support to travel to three academic institutions for lectures and informal visits with faculty and students, particularly to promote the participation of under-represented minorities in physics.

During his 35-year career at Fermilab, White has helped design, commission and analyze data from some of the world's most well-known particle physics experiments. He has built a reputation among students, colleagues and politicians for his efforts to boost science education, guiding the next generation of budding scientists.

He served on the APS Committee on Minorities, which involved a new scholarship program with a mentoring component, and was a member of advisory boards for the QuarkNet Project; the Illinois Institute of Technology Department of Biology, Chemistry and Physical Sciences; the National Society of Black Physicists; and a number of governing boards of directors. For many years, White has led numerous communication efforts about physics to the U.S. Congress and served on advisory panels for the U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, NASA and The National Academies.

White earned his A.B. physics degree at Earlham College, an M.S. degree in nuclear and accelerator physics at Michigan State University and Ph.D. in elementary particle physics at Florida State University. He was a resident research associate in nuclear physics at Argonne National Laboratory (1971), an Alfred P. Sloan Travel Fellow at the CERN Laboratory (1972) and University Fellow at Yale from 1976-1978.

North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas. With more than 2,798 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central is committed to academic excellence, a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes.

North Central offers a B.A. in physics where students study and apply the laws of nature at their most fundamental level. They gain excellent preparation for graduate school, positions in industry, teaching at the secondary education level or engineering. Students can choose from three degree tracks in physics, physics teaching and engineering, which include laboratory training in electrical and optical measurements, analog and digital electronics and advanced experimental physics. Many physics majors gain valuable work experience through an internship at a nearby corporate or government research laboratory.