Earl Scime, chair of the West Virginia University Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been named interim associate vice president for research at West Virginia University. He replaces Mridul Gautam, who resigned recently to become vice president of research at University of Nevada-Reno.

Scime will fill the position on a part-time basis this fall and fulltime beginning in January.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Earl’s ability and reputation able to step in to this very important position,” Vice President for Research Fred King – said. “Earl excels not only as a researcher but as a teacher dedicated to engaging students of all ages in scientific research.”

In addition to chairing the physics and astronomy department, Scime is an Eberly Distinguished Professor and active researcher in the realm of plasma physics. His research program in experimental physics is one of the few in the world that incorporates both laboratory and space plasma physics, which looks at the characteristics, properties and applications of plasmas. Examples of plasma are the sun, thermonuclear fusion experiments, certain metal-cutting torches and fluorescent lamps.

Scime has received the Claude Worthington Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award, Outstanding Research and Outstanding Teacher Awards from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching, a NASA Group Achievement Award for his work with the IMAGE spacecraft team, and a U.S. Department of Energy Plasma Physics Junior Faculty Research Grant. He was named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2011.

He served as a U.S. Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory before joining the WVU faculty in 1995.

He is also the co-founder of MARS – the Mountaineer Area RoboticS Team, a competitive high school robotics team, and an umbrella organization for more than 25 middle school robotics teams in north-central West Virginia. His work with MARS was recognized with the FIRST Robotics national mentor of the year award, the Woodie Flowers award, in 2012.

“I look forward to working with the faculty, administration, staff, postdoctoral researchers, research scientists, and students as we work towards our goal of attaining a research ‘very high’ classification for our great university,” Scime said.



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