Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bryn Receives Honorary Degree

By Thomas Guengrich
New Mexico Tech

Periodically, the university awards honorary degrees to friends of the university. This year, Tech issued one such degree to Stanley L. Bryn, the founder and president of Intor, Inc., a local company on NW Frontage Road that manufactures optical thin film filters for 16 years.
“He is much more than just a business owner,” said Peter Gerity, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “He is an engineer, an inventor and a believer in education.”
Three professors from three different departments nominated Mr. Bryn to receive an honorary doctorate for his engineering skills, his forward-thinking, his entrepreneurship, his scientific achievements in several disciplines and his partnerships with New Mexico Tech.
Bryn first developed an interest in electronics and engineering during World War II, when he served as a Seaman First Class – Radio Striker aboard the U.S.S. Alabama. His wartime experiences led him into a career in electrical engineering and the newly emerging science of optical thin films. Over the years, Bryn worked for several of the top U.S. companies in the field and contributed to key developments in the industry. His work for the Optical Corporation of America led to a patent in his name.
Over the past 15 years, several New Mexico Tech students have completed graduate work with support from Mr. Bryn and the facilities at Intor. Many others have benefited from Intor through tours, advice and mentoring, including students from computer science, electrical engineering, management and materials engineering. Bryn also funded a faculty member’s trip to an optics conference in California.
“Mr. Bryn’s long history of engineering contributions are truly remarkable, but what sets him apart is the strength of his academic interest, his passion for passing on knowledge to others and his love of discovery,” Gerity said.

The 2010 Distinguished Research Award was given to Rick Aster, the chairman of the Earth and Environmental Science Department.
The 2010 Distinguished Teaching Award was given to Dr. Paul Arendt, Tech graduate and professor of physics.
Both awards were announced at the Tech Commencement.

Vice President of Research Van Romero introduced Aster and presented him the award.
“Dr. Richard Aster is a man of many talents,” Romero said. “He is a top researcher, a champion for Earth sciences, an educator, and a family man.
He said Aster is active in a wide range of seismological research activities that reach across many disciplinary boundaries, making his impact widely felt throughout the Earth Sciences community. By virtue of his leading edge research and outreach efforts, Dr. Aster has become an internationally renowned expert in geophysics, Romero said.
Aster has led a number of ambitious projects to image the Earth’s interior that are advancing the field of seismology by generations. His is leading the global effort to
explore and image the deep interior structure of the Earth, helping us understand earthquake and volcanic sources, and the geological evolution of Earth’s continents.
He is also pioneering the study of colliding icebergs and ocean storms using seismology. Dr. Aster is at the forefront of a new class of geophysics – climate seismology – that is already informing the scientific debate about global climate change.
Aster’s most visible contribution to the New Mexico Tech research community came in 1998.
“Rick came to me and suggested that New Mexico Tech submit a proposal to host the national seismological instrument center,” Romero said. “The community of Earth scientists – and especially our friends at Stanford and Columbia – were shocked when this little upstart university in New Mexico won the bid and became the new home of the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center. Now, 12 years later, New Mexico Tech is positioned as a leader in global seismological research with Rick as the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center Principal Investigator.”
In addition to his high-quality research, Aster is of the new breed of scientists who believes in discovery for the sake of discovery regardless of traditional boundaries of specialization.
“His outreach efforts never stop. He regularly appears on TV news casts discussing earthquakes and seismic studies," Romero said.

Pictures courtesy of New Mexico Tech:
(top) Stanley L. Bryn, the founder and president of Intor, Inc., is hooded by electrical engineering professor Scott Teare.

(middle) Professor Paul Arendt

(bottom)Professor Rick Aster

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