2021 University and Distinguished Professors Announced
The Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs is pleased to congratulate Robert Nemiroff and Jason Blough, the new University and Distinguished Professors.
The University Professor title recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to the University and their discipline over a substantial period of time. The Distinguished Professor title recognizes outstanding faculty members who have made substantial contributions to the University and their discipline and are not presently recognized through an endowed position.
The confidential process for selecting University and Distinguished Professors spans the academic year and recipients for each award are notified late in the spring semester. Additional details regarding the awards and selection procedures can be found on the Provost's website.
2021 University Professor: Robert Nemiroff
Nemiroff, a professor in the Department of Physics, is now a University Professor. During Nemiroff’s 25 years at Michigan Tech, he has been a notable scholar who has made substantial contributions through teaching, research and service.
Nemiroff has taught courses at all levels throughout his time at Michigan Tech. In each of these courses he tries to incorporate innovative teaching ideas. In the late ’90s, he created interactive concept questions for a large introductory physics course, and these concepts are now standard in teaching introductory physics courses. Approximately five years later, he created an online version of a popular physics course and uploaded the lectures to iTunes University — it became the most downloaded course in any subject from any university. Following that success, a year later he created an online undergraduate course that is still taught today.
Nemiroff is a leading researcher both nationally and internationally in his field of gravitational lensing and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). He has received external funding every year while he has been at Michigan Tech, including an NSF CAREER Award (1997) and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Klumpke-Roberts Award (2015). He is also a recipient of Michigan Tech’s Research Award (2012). He has published multiple papers as first author and two books, one with a circulation of over 100,000. Through his efforts, Michigan Tech has acquired one of the largest telescopes available exclusively for student use.
Nemiroff could be considered a groundbreaker in service through his lead role in creating and running one of NASA’s most popular websites for the past 25 years: the Astronomy Picture of the Day project. This project is translated by volunteers into 20 languages daily, accessed over 1 million times per day on average and has massive a number of followers on Facebook (about 400,000), Instagram (about 800,000) and Twitter (about 1 million). He was also a lead founder and the first editor for the Astrophysics Source Code Library and has advised multiple doctoral and master's students, some of whom now hold positions at major U.S. universities.
2021 Distinguished Professor: Jason Blough
Blough, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, has been selected to join Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Professors. Since joining Michigan Tech in 2003, Blough has been recognized for numerous contributions in teaching, research and service.
Blough is a member of Michigan Tech’s Academy of Teaching Excellence and has received the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award. He is identified as an international leader in the area of noise, vibration and harshness, having received the Blue Ribbon Coalition Scientist of the Year Award (2006), the SEM DeMichele Award (2021) and the SAE Arch T. Colwell Merit Award (1997). He is also a Fellow of SAE (2021).
Blough has had numerous publications in journals as peer-reviewed conference papers. He has given over 30 short courses to industry. Additionally, he has had over 100 funded projects, totaling more than $3.7 million as principal investigator (PI) and $2.3 million as co-PI.
Blough has also been extremely active in service, graduating both doctoral and master's students, chairing an international conference in his field, serving on boards, editing papers and journals, and advising the SAE Student Chapter and Clean Snowmobile Challenge for over 15 years. SAE has recognized him multiple times as an outstanding faculty advisor.