University of Delaware
Eva Daicar congratulates Daicar-Bata Prize winners Farzad Mahfouzi (left) and Ryan Stearrett.

Daicar-Bata honorees

Daicar-Bata Prizes awarded to UD doctoral students Stearrett, Mahfouzi


9:17 a.m., Oct. 5, 2012--Two doctoral students in the University of Delaware Department of Physics and Astronomy have been awarded prestigious Daicar-Bata Prizes.

Each year, the department recognizes exceptional doctoral student accomplishments by awarding two Daicar-Bata Prizes -- one for the best research paper in a physics or astronomy peer reviewed journal published during the previous academic year and another for the highest grade point average in physics and astronomy courses at the end of the student's sixth semester in the program.

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“The Daicar-Bata Prizes serve to recognize and support achievement excellence and to advance the physics graduate program to a higher level of academic and research performance,” said Jim MacDonald, professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Physics Graduate Program. MacDonald added, “Each recipient receives a $2,500 prize and a certificate of recognition.”

The Daicar-Bata Fund was established in 1992 in honor of Otto Daicar and to commemorate his lifetime contributions throughout the world as an individual and as a senior executive at the Bata Shoe Corporation. Eva Daicar, daughter of Otto Daicar, introduced the prizes and underscored his commitment to quality. “My father was an inspiring leader with a strong moral compass who turned visions into reality and created work atmospheres which fueled performance excellence,” she said.

Three finalists for the best research paper presented their work during a Departmental Colloquium and immediately afterwards a panel of faculty met to decide on the winner.

“Six brilliant papers were nominated this year, making the panel’s decision challenging,” said MacDonald.

The best research paper award was awarded to Ryan Stearrett for his work, “Influence of Exchange Bias on Magnetic Losses in CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB Tunnel Junctions,” which was published in the journal Physical Review B.

The other two finalists, Farzad Mahfouzi and Adeel Ajaib, were presented with $250 prizes and a certificate for excellence in scholarship.

Mahfouzi was cited for his work, “Spin-Orbit Coupling Induced Spin-Transfer Torque and Current Polarization in Topological-Insulator/Ferromagnet Vertical Heterostructure,” and Ajaib for “Revisiting mGMSB in Light of a 125 GeV Higgs Boson.”

The highest grade point average (GPA) award recognizing exceptional academic performance was given to Mahfouzi. He maintains a 3.938 GPA and received a $2,500 prize.

The initial donation for the fund came from the Bata Corporation and the Daicar and Glyde families, and the remainder was raised from the alumni of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and matching funds from the University of Delaware.

Photos by Lane McLaughlin

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