Tech physicist receives national honor

Nov 15, 2012 | Engineering and Science

The Quadrennial Physics Congress (PhysCon) 2012 has honored Dr. Lee Sawyer, the Charles and Newelyn Spruell Distinguished Professor Physics at Louisiana Tech University, with its prestigious Sigma Pi Sigma Award for Outstanding Service. According to the award citation, Sawyer was recognized by PhysCon for his leadership in the field of particle physics, for excellence as a teacher, an advisor, and a faculty administrator, for mentorship of students, for service on the SPS National Council, and for sharing his knowledge of the role of technology in physics research with the 2012 Quadrennial Congress. Sawyer has distinguished himself as a member of several high-energy physics collaborations, including the discovery of the particle that may be the Higgs boson this past summer.  Sawyer also led a workshop at PhysCon titled, “Connecting Science & Technology.” PhysCon, held every four years, brings together undergraduate and graduate physics students, practicing physicists, and physics alumni for a weekend of cutting edge science and reflection on the role of the scientist in society. It features round-table discussions, distinguished speakers, and laboratory tours with poster sessions and celebrations of art and science. As a graduate student at CERN during the time the World Wide Web was first developed there, Sawyer setup one of the first academic web servers in the United States. He was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma as an undergraduate physics major at Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe.)  Sawyer earned his Ph.D. in experimental particle physics from Florida State University in 1991. In 1997, he joined the physics faculty at Louisiana Tech and started a high energy physics group which has grown to include three faculty members, two postdocs, and several Ph.D. and masters students.  He has also played an active role in the development of detectors for high energy physics experiments, the design of software for large detector systems, and distributed computing systems. In addition to Sawyer, presenters at PhysCon 2012 included James Stith, vice president emeritus – physics resources at the American Institute of Physics; Douglas Arion, professor of physics and astronomy, and entrepreneurship at Carthage College; Shelly Arnold, former vice president of operations – Mobile Workforce; Henry Reich with Minute Physics; and Gary White, program director at the National Science Foundation. Written by Catherine Fraser –