LASP announces new graduate student fellowships honoring its first director


LASP announces new graduate student fellowships honoring its first director

The first recipients will use the funds to further their studies of Martian clouds and atmospheric chemistry.

The family of the late Charles A. Barth, the first director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), has established a new fellowship in his honor. Each year distributions from the Barth Family Endowed Graduate Fellowship Fund will be used to provide support to graduate students conducting space science and engineering research at LASP.

The fund was established by Mrs. Louise Mary Barth and the couple’s four children—Robert C. Barth, M.S., Dr. John (Jack) A. Barth, Dr. Matthew J. Barth, and Dr. Mary C. Barth—to honor Charles Barth’s enduring legacy. He worked as the director of LASP from 1965 to 1992 and as a professor in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences from 1965 to 2002. He then served as a professor emeritus through 2014.

“Charles Barth was an exceptional scientist and a visionary leader,” said LASP Director Dan Baker. “We are very pleased that his family has endowed a fund that will support future scientists as they continue Dr. Barth’s tradition of pushing the limits of space exploration.”

In addition to his research on planetary atmospheres, Dr. Barth left a lasting legacy through his teaching and mentoring. He was committed to hands-on education and training and inspired many students in science and engineering, many of whom work at LASP today. In 2013, CU Boulder established the Charles A. Barth Scholarship in Space Research to support undergraduates. The new fellowship will similarly help LASP continue to prioritize student involvement in space research and NASA missions.

“Our father, and Louise’s husband, loved working with students,” wrote the Barth family recently. “He enjoyed helping to launch their careers as much as he enjoyed launching missions to study the planets. We hope this award will help graduate students pursue their curiosity, like our father did during his career at LASP.”

First recipients announced

The first recipients of the newly established fund are both pursuing Ph.D. degrees in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. Eryn Cangi is studying planetary science with an emphasis on Martian atmospheric modeling. Kyle Connour is researching the formation of clouds on Mars.

Connour works with LASP researcher Dr. Nicholas Schneider. He is using ultraviolet data analysis, general circulation models, and other tools to better understand how various aerosols in the Martian atmosphere interact and how they’ve contributed to Mars’ atmospheric loss.

“It’s an honor to receive this fellowship,” said Connour. “Dr. Barth was a pioneer of ultraviolet spectroscopy throughout the solar system, and I’m proud to carry on that legacy through my own research at LASP.”

Eryn Cangi’s graduate research focuses on the Martian atmosphere. Working with LASP researcher Dr. Michael Chaffin, she is developing a comprehensive surface-to-space model of Mars’ atmosphere that includes the chemistry of hydrogen and its isotope deuterium, providing a detailed understanding of multiple modes of atmospheric escape. The results will help researchers better understand the loss of water from the Red Planet.

“I’m very grateful for the Barth family’s support for planetary atmospheric research,” said Cangi. “Understanding the atmosphere of Mars helps us answer big questions about planetary evolution and the potential for life beyond Earth,” she added. “As I go forward in my career, I hope to one day be able to pay it forward to future students in the same way and to continue connecting with people through our common fascination with space.”

Written by Terri Cook, Head of LASP’s Office of Communications Management

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