Issue 18
From the Founding Director
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

“For Whom the Bell Tolls”
John Donne

After Michael K. Young announced his resignation date as president of Texas A&M University, I received a message that the bell tolled for me from A&M’s master bell ringer, Chancellor John Sharp. He wanted me to accept the position of interim president, effective January 1, 2021. This appointment is nominally for the spring semester while the search for the next president is under way.

I remarked to Chancellor Sharp that my current dual role as director of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study and as professor is more than a full-time job. I also commented that there were others more qualified to lead in this important time. He was insistent that he and the Board of Regents surveyed the possibilities and were unanimous that, given the short fuse, I was the best choice. He then said:

"Junkins, I am just calling to make it happen!"

Upon reflection of my love for Texas A&M, how could I refuse? And I thought 2020 was an eventful year for me!

I think Texas A&M is the strongest university in the southwest in research, teaching, and support from alumni, as well as being the largest university. It is my great honor and privilege to help Texas A&M move through this challenging era and maintain our hard-earned momentum. I will bring a collaborative and goal-focused approach to leadership while refining our plans for the coming months.

Moving forward, we are the "keepers of the flame" of A&M’s core values, outstanding teaching and research, and its former students' history of strong work ethic and leadership. Until a new president arrives, I appreciate the solemn responsibility to continue making progress while cultivating the fundamental values that truly define Texas A&M.

Upon completing this important tour of duty, I plan to return to my role as director of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study.

Best wishes to all,
Director Junkins, Now Interim President

Little did we know when the current president of Texas A&M University, Michael K. Young, tendered his resignation effective December 31, 2020, that Chancellor John Sharp and the Board of Regents would unanimously agree that the person to take the reins as interim president should be none other than Dr. John L. Junkins.
Professor Junkins is the founder and director of the Hagler Institute. He is a visionary who has devoted much of his time during the last decade to enhancing the educational and research environment across the Texas A&M campus. Such selfless service in the interest of Texas A&M has not gone unnoticed.
Dr. Junkins is an impressive choice as interim president. He is University Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering, holder of the Royce E. Wisenbaker Chair, member of the National Academy of Engineering, and recipient of more than a dozen international honors, including the Robert Goddard Award—the highest honor bestowed in the field of astronautical engineering. In his role as director of the Hagler Institute he has worked with top administrators across campus throughout the years, and he is the epitome of distinction as a professional and administrator.

Chancellor Sharp’s announcement of Dr. Junkins’ appointment included:
“Dr. Junkins is an accomplished researcher, outstanding teacher, and an innovator whose Institute has transformed our faculty. He also will bring a steady hand to the tiller to ensure that Texas A&M successfully navigates the next few months until
a successor is named.”

Dr. Junkins will return to his work in the Hagler Institute once a new president arrives. In the meantime, Dr. Ed Fry, University Distinguished Professor of Physics, associate head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and deputy director of the Hagler Institute, will assume an expanded role. Dr. Clifford Fry, associate director (unrelated to Dr. Ed Fry) and Ms. Amanda Scott, assistant director, will handle much of the business of the Institute.

The staff of the Hagler Institute sends its hearty congratulations to the new interim president of Texas A&M University, Dr. John L. Junkins.
Hagler Fellow Updates
Gloria Ladson-Billings

Who better to discuss the implications of a global pandemic on education than the president of the National Academy of Education? That person is Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and 2020-2021 Fellow of the Hagler Institute, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings. Despite her many prestigious accomplishments, she refers to herself simply as an “American teacher” and is working with faculty and students in Texas A&M’s Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture in the College of Education and Human Development.

On November 19, 2020, Dr. Ladson-Billings utilized Zoom technology to present a distinguished lecture titled “Moving through the Portal: Pandemic Pedagogy.” The address was attended by more than 200 people at Texas universities in addition to Texas A&M, such as the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, and in universities in many countries, including China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and countries in Europe and Africa.

Due to COVID-19, students and teachers are struggling with how to stay educationally engaged with remote learning. The pandemic is forcing educators to imagine their world anew. Dr. Ladson-Billings advocates redesigning education to include equal emphasis on three paths: academic achievement, or student learning; cultural competence, requiring each student to be grounded in their own culture, but to be fluent in another culture; and socio-political/critical consciousness, following Thomas Jefferson’s advice that education of the common people is crucial for securing liberty. She posed many challenges for educators to consider, such as how to reward progress by a student even if the final result is below a desired standard and how to make people understand the implications for education of socio-economic disparity. Students are not all in the same boat; some are in luxury cabins while others are barely hanging on. The pandemic has exposed that information technology has been underutilized in education.

Our “American teacher’s” style is interesting. She provides her students an array of projects on which they have to excel to get an A, and likewise for a B, and if they want something less than a B to go elsewhere. She then guides the students to do work at the A or B level by making them redo assignments, again and again if necessary, to achieve the level of competence required.

She has a message for teachers in any discipline that is well worth remembering—teachers need to stress the big ideas in a student’s discipline before letting them get bogged down in the minutia. With these and many more viewpoints offered, Dr. Ladson-Billings made a presentation that in its conclusion was lauded by many across international boundaries.
William G. Unruh

Many scientists through the ages have applied their expertise to problems for which there were no current feasible experimental technologies. The means may now be available to detect the Unruh effect, a theoretical result (in 1976) named after its discoverer, William “Bill” G. Unruh.

Professor Unruh is a world-renowned professor of physics and
astronomy who came to Texas A&M from the University of British Columbia as a 2018-2019 Fellow of the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study to work in A&M’s Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE). In the spring of 2021, he will join A&M’s faculty on a 50 percent basis over a five-year period. With his co- authors, he recently wrote two papers, and he graciously thanks the Hagler Institute in them. One article, to appear in the journal Physical Review Letters, is titled “Interferometric Unruh Detectors for Bose-Einstein Condensates,” and a companion already published in Physical Review D is titled “Unruh and Analogue Unruh Temperatures for Circular Motion in 3+1 and 2+1 Dimensions.”

Professor Unruh has provided us with a layman’s explanation of the first (we will spare you the non-layman’s explanation) titled “Detector for Accelerated Measurement of a Quantum Vacuum.”

“It has been known for 45 years that the existence of particles depends on the state of motion of the observer, but has never been observed. In particular, an observer accelerating through empty space will see a thermal bath of particles. The theoretical result – known as the Unruh effect – was found in the context of a massless quantum field, though …(it) can also... occur in a fluid called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) at temperatures of only a trillionth of a degree above absolute zero. In this…setting, the sound velocity is a trillionth the velocity of light…which greatly enhances the observability of the Unruh effect.”

In Physical Review Letters the team details a proposed experiment for detecting the analogue of the Unruh effect in a BEC.
“Astonishingly, it seems that our technology (using lasers and interferometers) is now at the level where this may be detectable.
Not only does it shine light on such fundamental questions as ‘what is a particle’, it also allows us to observe the behavior of the quantum vacuum in a BEC”

The quantum world holds profound explanations of our world, as well as potential advancements in computational technology. Dr. Unruh, who has worked with Dr. Stephen Hawking and other prominent physicists, is at the forefront of quantum investigations, an area to which Texas A&M is devoting significant expertise, thanks largely to efforts of A&M University Distinguished Professor Marlan Scully. Professor Scully (with whom Bill has published a number of papers) has nominated and successfully recruited Hagler Fellows with expertise in various aspects of quantum theory and applications, including Dr. Wolfgang Schleich (2013-2014), Dr. Roy Glauber (2013-2014), Dr. Michael Duff (2018-2019), Dr. Luiz Davidovich (2019-2020), and Dr. Peter Shor (2019-2020).
Wolfgang Schleich

As are all scholars brought to Texas A&M through the Hagler Institute, 2013-2014 Fellow, Wolfgang Schleich, was recruited because of his outstanding professional contributions. He is a theoretical physicist with a 40-year career of groundbreaking research.  Recognition of his excellence is world-wide and frequent. His first award was the 1983 Otto Hahn Medal, with other prestigious awards following in 1991, 1993, 1995, 2002, 2007, and 2008. His latest honor was bestowed in November 2020 when The Optical Society and the Deuthsche Physikalische Gesellschaft named Dr. Schleich the recipient of the esteemed 2021 Herbert Walther Award. Dr. Schleich received this award for his

“…pioneering contributions to topics including gyroscopes and general relativity, Schleich-Wheeler oscillations, quantum state engineering, quantum optics in phase space, Gauss-sum
factorization and wave packet dynamics and the red shift
controversy resolution in atom interferometry.”

Dr. Schleich is Chair-Professor of Theoretical Physics, Universitat Ulm, Germany. Dr. Schleich has worked for many years with director of the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE), Dr. Marlan Scully, including writing his dissertation under Dr. Scully’s supervision.

Dr. Schleich has made frequent visits to Texas A&M since completing his work as a fellow of the Hagler Institute, often bringing other scholars from Germany to participate in discussions of research at the IQSE. He has contributed significantly to several symposiums at Texas A&M, and he provided a thought-provoking article for the Hagler Institute’s 2014 annual report, Cornerstone, titled ”Pictures in Quantum Theory and the Mystery of Light,” that presents some of his work done at the Hagler Institute.

In the first photo, Dr. Schleich (middle) is with 2015-2016 Fellow Dr. Michael King (left) and director of the IQSE, Dr. Marlan Scully at the reception following the 2017 symposium The Nobel Foundation Celebrates Quantum Mechanics, co-sponsored by the Hagler Institute, in which Dr. Schleich was a presenter. The second photo captures Wolfgang and Kathy Schleich entering the 2014 Hagler Institute induction gala with the late Dr. Roy Glauber, 2013-2014 Fellow and recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics. Mrs. Judy Fry and Mrs. Candace Smith are shown in the background. 
Hagler Heroes
When the Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Institute for Advanced Study a decade ago, it was nothing more than the brainchild of John Junkins. Funding from Chancellor Sharp, the Academic Master Plan, and the Heep Foundation, enabled an attempt to make the Institute a reality. From the outset, the unsung heroes of the Institute have been key personnel at the A&M Foundation.

Dr. Eddie Joe Davis ’67, then president of the A&M Foundation, helped identify and establish a set of advocates for the Institute. By so doing, he provided the Institute with a crucial nexus to some of the University’s most prominent former students. President Davis’ advice about the composition of the Institute’s then forthcoming External Advisory Board remains invaluable. Signature cash and planned gifts from Jon Hagler ’58 made permanent the Institute and solidified A&M’s long- term support, and Dr. Davis was involved in every phase of the process.

The Hagler Institute benefits from devotion to its preeminent mission by a person who exemplifies distinction, the current president of the A&M Foundation, Mr. Tyson Voelkel ’96. The objectives of the Institute are ultimately to become less dependent on University support, and to raise endowments for colleges that fund Hagler Fellows in perpetuity. President Voelkel participates in the Institute’s strategy meetings and assists with securing donations from alumni and even A&M faculty. Dr. Jason Penry ‘08, assistant vice president for operations, is the development officer devoted to the Hagler Institute. These two individuals, accompanied by A&M Foundation staff, raise cash gifts for the Institute, endowments for support of fellows in colleges, endowments for student fellowships, and planned estate gifts from former students and A&M faculty.

The efforts of the leaders of the A&M Foundation have helped secure more than $35 million in funding for the Hagler Institute. For their irreplaceable assistance, love of the Hagler Institute, and for their own exemplifications of excellence, Dr. Eddie Joe Davis ’67, Mr. Tyson Voelkel ’96, Dr. Jason Penry ’08, and the staff of the A&M Foundation, are our new Hagler Heroes.
Eddie Joe Davis ’67
Tyson Voelkel ’96
Jason Penry '08
Student Spotlight
Mateo García Olazábal: Ongoing Collaboration

One purpose of the Hagler Institute is to team top students with in- coming Hagler Fellows to foster research mentorship. One of the most impressive examples of on-going collaboration we have seen involves Dr. Manfred Schartl and Mr. Mateo García Olazábal. Dr. Schartl is a 2015-2016 Fellow who came to the Hagler Institute from the University of Wurzburg, Germany, where was inducted into that country’s National Academy of Science for his study of cancer using fish models. Mr. Mateo García Olazábal is a graduate student in A&M’s Department of Biology, and he and Dr. Schartl have been studying the causal connection between certain gene expressions and the development of melanoma cancer in fish, particularly swordtail
fish. They have studied fish populations in Sierra Madre (Hidalgo, Mexico) as part of their work. Since 2018, Mr. Olazábal has been working with Professor Schartl to:
…carry out transgenic studies (in vivo and in cell culture) to characterize the modifying effect of these genes have on Sc-tumor development….”
What is special about this relationship is that close mentorship is continuing between Mr. Olazábal and Dr. Schartl.
For two years Mr. Olazábal was on a Heep Foundation fellowship awarded by the Hagler Institute, which ended in January 2020. Dr. Schartl, who completed his term as a fellow in the Institute in the 2017-2018 academic year, was a visiting professor in Texas A&M’s Biology Department until Spring 2020. Dr. Schartl then began work in the Xiphophorus Genetic Stock Center at Texas State University to continue the studies he started at Texas A&M. He still collaborates with Dr. Gil Rosenthal of A&M’s Biology Department.

Dr. Schartl went to Germany with all intention of returning to the United States, but the pandemic has prevented him from
traveling. Mr. Olazábal, consequently, went to Germany, where he currently remains, to complete his work with Dr. Schartl and to finish the analysis for his dissertation. This collaboration has so far been fruitful: Dr Schartl and Mr. Olazábal have already written three publications since they started working together, including a major piece published in the May 15, 2020, issue of Science titled “Natural hybridization reveals incompatible alleles that cause melanoma in swordtail fish."

Those of us in the Hagler Institute express our deep appreciation to Dr. Manfred Schartl for his continuing work of mentorship and research collaboration fostered during his time as a Hagler Fellow at Texas A&M.
Mr. Mateo Garcia and Dr. Manfred Schartl examine a specimen in the lab.
Mr. Mateo Garica and Dr. Manfred Schartl traveled
to Mexico to collect fish for their research.
If you have news to share, please send articles, suggestions, or other information to:
Dr. Clifford L. Fry, Associate Director
Hagler Institute for Advanced Study
at Texas A&M University