Charles Gammie invested as Willett Chair, Hughes honored as Willett Scholar
5/11/2022 11:24:44 AM
On Monday, May 2, 2022, Illinois Physics faculty, staff, and students had the chance to celebrate two scientists whose hard work and dedication were recognized by The Grainger College of Engineering with named appointments. Professor Charles Gammie was invested as the Donald Biggar Willett Chair in Engineering, and Professor Taylor Hughes was celebrated as a Donald Biggar Willett Faculty Scholar. A public ceremony was held at Loomis Lab, followed by a reception, then a private dinner at the Beckman.
As part of the ceremony, Professor Eduardo Fradkin delivered a laudatio for Hughes, and Professor Gil Holder for Gammie.
Charles Forbes Gammie
Charles F. Gammie is a Professor of Physics and of Astronomy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research in theoretical and computational astrophysics has touched on black holes; star, planet, and moon formation; relativistically hot plasmas; and interstellar turbulence. He and his team develop numerical methods that enable work on otherwise inaccessible astrophysical problems.
Professor Gammie received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Yale University in 1987 and his doctoral degree in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 1992. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the University of Cambridge prior to joining the Illinois faculty in 1999. He served as Chair of the Astronomy Department from 2011 to 2014.
Professor Gammie led the Theory Working Group of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, which captured the first image of a black hole, unveiled in April 2019. For this work he was named one of The Bloomberg 50 and shared the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the Bruno Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society, and the Einstein Medal of the Albert Einstein Society. As the EHT Collaboration expands its exploration of black hole physics, Professor Gammie continues to lead its theoretical thrust, working with his team to develop state-of-the-art numerical models to elucidate the petabytes of new data now being collected by the EHT.
Professor Gammie is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, won a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE, 2002), was selected as a University of Illinois System University Scholar (2007–2010), and was a Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics (2015–2016). His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Taylor Hughes is a Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research program in condensed matter theory has contributed to our fundamental understanding of topological phases of matter, superconductivity, electronic transport, the quantum Hall effect, disordered electronic systems, and theoretical high-energy physics. Professor Hughes’ work holds profound implications for applications in electronic materials and engineered meta-materials.
Professor Hughes received his bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Florida in 2003. He then worked for a year as a software engineer for the US Department of Defense. He went on to receive his doctoral degree from Stanford University in 2009. Professor Hughes completed a postdoctoral appointment at Illinois Physics and the Institute for Condensed Matter Theory (ICMT) prior to joining the faculty at Illinois Physics in 2011.
Professor Hughes’ primary research focus is on topological phases of matter and the interactions between topology and geometry in quantum materials. He maintains strong collaborations with experimentalists and theorists in other subdisciplines of physics and engineering to make rapid progress on open questions in condensed matter physics that overlap with high-energy physics and quantum information science. He is co-author of more than 140 articles and, with B. Andrei Bernevig, a graduate-level text: Topological Insulators and Topological Superconductors.
At UIUC, Professor Hughes is a member of the Institute for Condensed Matter Theory; the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (I-MRSEC); and the Illinois Quantum
Information Science and Technology Center of The Grainger College of Engineering. He received a 2015 Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research, a 2014 University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study Fellowship, a 2014 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, a 2014 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research from The Grainger College of Engineering, and a 2013 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.