Edwin L. Aguirre
Robert Giles says he always tries to challenge himself in both teaching and research, constantly striving to perform at a level others would respect.
“However, I am not always comfortable with public recognition of my achievements, nor do I seek awards as an affirmation of my work,” says the chair of the Physics and Applied Physics Department.
He better get used to it: Giles has been named a UMass Lowell University Professor; his appointment runs from Sept. 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013.
The title honors an individual who, over a period of years, has consistently demonstrated exemplary teaching, internationally significant research and extraordinary service to the University community. Giles joins biology Prof. Susan Braunhut (2008ߝ11) and work environment Prof. Kenneth Geiser (2009-12) in holding this recognition.
Among his numerous accomplishments, Giles was recognized for his work as director and principal investigator at the University’s Submillimeter-Wave Technology Laboratory (STL). The Lab, which recently received a five-year, $27 million renewal grant from the U.S. Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center, is a leader in terahertz transmitter and receiver technologies and a pioneer in the design and fabrication of broadband solid-state multiplier sources, ultrastable optically pumped lasers and laser/microwave hybrid systems.
“I have a passion for research, investigating new ideas, developing novel devices and techniques, enjoying the process of discovery and especially including my graduate and undergraduate students in this process,” he says.
As a member of the physics faculty, Giles has taught introductory physics and astronomy as well as developed upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in automation laboratory research and the physics of materials and devices. He was awarded the department’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2003 and 2006.
Since 2001, he has been traveling to Haiti in an effort to initiate a development studies research team in the country. He has been encouraging Haitian students to explore their academic abilities and opportunities in higher education through the use of introductory college-level science curricula. He has also been submitting proposals to funding agencies in an effort to establish this project team as a research center at UMass Lowell.
“It is an honor being chosen as University Professor considering the large number of faculty working toward academic excellence in research and teaching on this campus,” says Giles. “In serving on campus-wide committees as department chair over the past two years, I have grown to appreciate the contributions so many faculty members are making to maintain the undergraduate and graduate programs here at the University.”
The University Professor is nominated by members of the faculty. As part of the designation, the individual and his or her department receive an annual salary supplement of $10,000 and a one-course reduction in the professor’s work-load for each semester. The designee also delivers an annual University-wide lecture during the appointment.
“The list of people I would like to acknowledge is immense,” he says. “We are all a reflection of our family, friends, teachers and colleagues. So many good people make every achievement a shared adventure. Although the years seem to make this a countless endeavor, for this award, my lifetime mentor in academic research would be Dr. Jerry Waldman.”
Giles is a resident of Upton. To learn more about his research at the Submillimeter-Wave Technology Lab, visit stl.uml.edu/.