Daicar-Bata Prizes awarded to UD doctoral students Nieto-Pescador, Wise

September 29, 2016 - Jesus Nieto-Pescador and Alexander Wise, doctoral students at the University of Delaware, Department of Physics and Astronomy, have been awarded prestigious Daicar-Bata Prizes. Each year, the department recognizes exceptional doctoral student accomplishments by awarding two Daicar-Bata Prizes – one for the best research paper in a physics or astronomy peer-reviewed journal published during the previous academic year and another for the highest grade point average in physics and astronomy courses at the end of the student's sixth semester in the program. “The Daicar-Bata Prizes serve to recognize and support achievement excellence and to advance the physics graduate program to a higher level of academic and research performance,” said Edmund Nowak, chair and professor of physics and astronomy. Nowak added, “Each recipient receives a $2,500 prize and a certificate of recognition.” The initial donation for the fund came from the Bata Corporation and the Daicar and Glyde families, and the remainder was raised from the alumni of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and matching funds from the University. The Daicar-Bata Fund was established in 1992 in honor of Otto Daicar and to commemorate his lifetime contributions throughout the world as an individual and as a senior executive at the Bata Shoe Corporation. Eva Daicar, daughter of Otto Daicar, introduced the prizes and underscored his commitment to quality. “My father was an inspiring leader with a strong moral compass who turned visions into reality and created work atmospheres which fueled performance excellence,” she said. Three finalists for the best research paper presented their work during a departmental colloquium and immediately afterward a panel of faculty met to decide on the winner. “Five brilliant papers were nominated this year, making the panel’s decision challenging,” said Jamie Holder, professor and acting chair of the physics and astronomy student awards committee. The best research paper award was awarded to Nieto-Pescador for his work, “Heterogeneous Electron-Transfer Dynamics through Dipole-Bridge Groups,” which was published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C (2015). The other two finalists, Colby Haggerty and Aaron Loether, were presented with $250 prizes and a certificate for excellence in scholarship. Haggerty was cited for his work, “The Competition of Electron and Ion Heating During Magnetic Reconnection” and Loether for “Pump-Probe Spectrometer for Measuring X-ray Induced Strain.” The highest grade point average (GPA) award recognizing exceptional academic performance was presented by Holder to Wise, who maintains a 3.881 GPA and received a $2,500 prize.