Baylor Welcomes Cherry Award Finalist Meera Chandrasekhar

Meera Chandrasekhar
Meera Chandrasekhar, Ph.D., courtesy photo
Oct. 25, 2013

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Media contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (Oct. 25, 2013) - Baylor's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching program will feature its last finalist, Meera Chandrasekhar, Ph.D., in a lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28 in the Baylor Science Building, room B110.

Chandrasekhar, Curator's Teaching Professor of Physics at the University of Missouri, will present "Blind to Polarization: What Humans Cannot See." The lecture will focus on the concept of polarization, a property of light usually undetectable by humans.

Chandrasekhar will explain how nature offers a wide variety of polarized sights, which can be discovered with the help of a polarizing filter. The lecture will also explore modern-day applications of polarization, from 3D movies to engineering design.

Michael Thompson, Ph.D., graduate director for electrical and computer engineering at Baylor, says Chandrasekhar was chosen as a finalist for multiple reasons.

"As all finalists, she has an outstanding teaching record, but we also looked at student letters," he said. "She is admired by her students and she has a really nice track record of incorporating STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] ideas into high school and junior high classes."

Thompson said the lecture should be appealing to everyone because Chandrasekhar has a talent of making physics understandable to those who are not scientifically inclined.

Chandrasekhar is the last Cherry Award finalist to lecture on the Baylor campus and has been preceded by fellow finalists Joan Breton Connelly, Ph.D., a professor of classics and art history at New York University and Michael K. Salemi, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The finalists, chosen by a Baylor Cherry Award committee, have been selected from a field of nominees who have proven records as extraordinary teachers with positive, inspiring and long-lasting effects on students.

The Cherry Award winner will receive a prize of $250,000 and will teach in residence at Baylor during the 2014 fall or 2015 spring semester. To further Baylor's commitment to excellent teaching, the winner's home department will also receive $25,000.

The Baylor Sciences Building is located on the Baylor campus, 101 Bagby Ave. Hands-on activities will be conducted during the lecture, and the audience is encouraged to bring polarized sunglasses and a smartphone, iPad or laptop if possible.

For more information on the program or lectures, call Alison Neubert at (254) 710-2923.

by Kristen Bennett, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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