Baylor University Appoints Garritt J. Tucker, Ph.D., as Inaugural Eula Mae and John Baugh Chair of Physics
Leading interdisciplinary materials science researcher joins Baylor from the Colorado School of Mines
WACO, Texas (July 26, 2023) - Baylor University announced today the appointment of Garritt J. Tucker, Ph.D., as the inaugural Eula Mae and John Baugh Chair in Physics with a focus on innovative research and teaching in the area of materials science. Tucker comes to Baylor from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, and holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“Dr. Tucker will provide a tremendous boost to our overall Materials effort. His simulation work is highly interdisciplinary and applicable to much of the work already happening at Baylor. The overall trajectory and impact of his work at Baylor will pay off for years to come,” said Baylor Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D.
“I am truly grateful to the Baugh family and estate for their generosity and strong commitment to the impact of Baylor across the globe,” Tucker said. “It is a unique and distinguished honor to be the inaugural recipient of The Eula Mae and John Baugh Chair of Physics. Through the support of the chair, I look forward to joining the outstanding faculty within the physics department and contributing to Baylor University through innovative materials science research and education.”
Tucker’s scientific and research interests include computational materials science, nanomechanical behavior of materials, machine learning and materials informatics, mechanistic design of materials, deformation mechanisms, defect physics, multiscale materials modeling and algorithm development for advanced data analysis and visualization.
His most recent research projects:
- Mechanical properties and thermo-mechanical stability of Nanostructured Metal Alloys
- Hierarchical nanomaterials for multimodal behavior and activation
- Inverse design of microstructures: engineering heterogeneities at the atomic scale
- Computational methods for molecular structure identification
Before joining the faculty at Baylor, Tucker spent six years in the mechanical engineering department at Mines as associate professor and director of graduate studies. Prior appointments include four years as an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University, and two years as a postdoctoral research appointee at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the Computational Materials and Data Science group.
At Mines, Tucker founded the Mines Advanced Visualization Studio (MAVS), a research and scientific facility for immersive visualization leveraging virtual/augmented/mixed reality of data across STEM, encompassing virtual laboratories, scientific meetings, education modules and K-12 outreach. He also was principal investigator with the Computational Materials Science and Design (CMSD) research group at Mines that integrates high-performance computing and theory to discover the fundamental structure-property relationships of materials that will enable the predictive design of advanced materials with tunable properties.
“One significant reason I am looking forward to join Baylor is the clear vision of the administration, and generosity of the alumni, in supporting initiatives to simultaneously strengthen academics and societal impact through integrated research and education, while promoting spiritual growth,” Tucker said. “Baylor is an exciting research environment that will be at the forefront of many scientific discoveries in years to come and will lead influential research enterprises to shape future technologies. I am delighted to join with the students, staff, faculty and alumni across the entire Baylor community to initiate new endeavors to illuminate the University’s mission.”
Tucker also holds professional society memberships with the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, Materials Research Society, American Physical Society and American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In addition, he served on the editorial board for Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing) and as a reviewer for Nature, Scientific Advances, Nano Letters and other top materials science and materials physics journals.
“Dr. Tucker will help Baylor continue to build in the area of materials science across multiple academic units within the University,” said Lee Nordt, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor. “He will be a critical piece of this initiative because his research bridges the two most important areas of materials science – physics and engineering. It is important that the sciences play a key role in this signature strategic initiative of Illuminate, and the Department of Physics in the College of Arts & Sciences will be at forefront of this effort.”
Lorin Swint Matthews, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Physics and associate director of CASPER, said, “The physics department is looking forward to having Dr. Tucker join us this fall. Dr. Tucker’s enthusiasm for working with students and his engaging lecture style set him apart. Graduate and undergraduate student alike will benefit from his mentoring in the classroom and in the research lab.”
Longtime Baylor benefactors
The Eula Mae and John Baugh Chair in Physics was established through a $2.5 million estate gift from John and Eula Mae Baugh, announced in spring 2021. The Baughs’ gift also received matching funds from the Foster Academic Challenge program, which generated significant support from alumni and donors to create 14 new endowed chairs, including The Baugh Chair, to advance R1-level research at Baylor, a preeminent Christian Research 1 university. With Dr. Tucker’s appointment as The Baugh Chair, Baylor will continue expanding academic discovery and teaching in materials science.
Mr. Baugh was founder and retired senior chairman of SYSCO Corp. He served Baylor from 1987-96 as a Trustee and Regent and generously supported numerous Baylor programs and projects, wherever he saw a need, for more than 20 years. Mr. Baugh died March 5, 2007, and Mrs. Baugh passed away in August of the same year. Their only daughter, Barbara “Babs” Nell Baugh of San Antonio, passed away June 14, 2020. She was a dedicated Baylor parent and philanthropist, and after her death, a portion of her parents’ estate was given to the University in accordance with the wishes of John and Eula Mae Baugh, as well as their family. Babs’ daughters, Jackie Baugh Moore, B.S.Ed. ’86, and Julie Strathe Baugh, B.A. ’89, continue to lead philanthropic efforts, including support for Baylor University, for The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 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 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments in the sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences, as well as 11 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. The College’s undergraduate Unified Core Curriculum, which routinely receives top grades in national assessments, emphasizes a liberal education characterized by critical thinking, communication, civic engagement and Christian commitment. Arts & Sciences faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit the College of Arts & Sciences website.