Two faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware have been appointed to named professorships, effective Sept. 1.
Qaisar Shafi, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been named the inaugural Bartol Research Institute Professor of Physics, and Colin Thorpe, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been appointed the Willis F. Harrington Professor of Biochemistry.
"I am pleased to announce these distinguished appointments," Provost Tom Apple said. "Both are deserving of this recognition for their achievements as scholars and educators."
Shafi, who is widely considered a trailblazer whose research decisively shaped particle physics and cosmology, was selected as the first Bartol Professor because of his contributions in theoretical high-energy physics and cosmology.
His research interests include the origin and nature of the Higgs Boson, often referred to as the "God particle," which is the current focus of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, the world's largest "atom-smasher." Shafi also has worked extensively on dark matter, which makes up about 25 percent of the mass of the universe.
Shafi, who joined the UD faculty in 1983, teaches upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in high-energy physics and cosmology and has taught and mentored numerous graduate students and postdoctoral researchers at the University and worldwide. An early advocate of global educational exchanges, he has been a leading figure in building institutions and networks for young scientists in developing countries.
The recipient of many national and international awards, his honors include the Humboldt Research Prize, given by a German foundation to a researcher "whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have had a significant impact."
The Bartol Research Institute was established in the will of Henry W. Bartol, who died in 1918, and its first Fellow was appointed in 1925. The institute moved to its current location on the UD campus in 1977, became part of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and merged with the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2005. Its mission is to carry out leading scientific research, primarily focused on physics, astronomy and space sciences.
The funding for the Bartol professorship comes from the institute itself, with the faculty voting to allocate some of its resources to support such a position.