Gezelter and Hauenstein honored with 2020 awards during virtual event

Author: Tammi Freehling

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On March 24, during a live virtual event on Zoom, Interim Dean Michael Hildreth honored two faculty members who received the highest awards bestowed by the college.

Dan Gezelter, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is the recipient of the 2020 Father James L. Shilts, C.S.C./Doris and Gene Leonard Teaching Award. This award, bestowed annually on a faculty member in the College of Science, is named in honor of Father James Shilts, C.S.C., who taught in the Department of Physics from 1961 until his death in 1982, and was endowed in 1984 by Dr. Eugene T. Leonard III in memory of his parents Dr. Eugene and Doris Leonard. Dr. Leonard III was a member of the Science Advisory Council from 1976 until 1991. The award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching. 

Gezelter was graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Chemistry. He earned a CPS in chemistry from Churchill College, Cambridge, and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Notre Dame in 1998. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2005 and to Full Professor in 2015. A theoretical chemist with specialties in energy and theory, his research involves theoretical and computational studies of the dynamics of complex condensed matter systems.

In his 21 years at Notre Dame, Gezelter has taught a wide assortment of courses, large and small to both undergraduate and graduate students. They include large service courses as well as required courses for majors. His teaching was recognized in 2013 with an Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. He served as a Kaneb Faculty Fellow for 2018-2019, a program that invites exemplary teachers to share their teaching experience, methods and insights with other faculty and graduate T.A.’s. Gezelter has put extensive effort into curriculum development. He worked with two other faculty members to completely revise the freshmen general chemistry class, which is taken by half the students in the First Year class. The revisions necessitated more extensive office hours, tutoring, and T.A. meetings. More recently, he has been particularly instrumental in developing and teaching in the Mary E. Galvin Science and Engineering Scholars Program which is designed to help students interested in STEM majors achieve their full academic potential. In addition to classroom teaching, Gezelter served four years as DGS and four years as DUS. He is heavily involved in mentoring undergraduates in research, many of whom have gone into Ph.D. programs. He has also successfully advised many graduate students, some of whom received appointments in chemistry departments at other institutions.

Jonathan Hauenstein, Professor and Associate Department Chair of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, is the recipient of the 2020 College Research Award. Each year, the College of Science aims to recognize an outstanding investigator who has made substantial recent contributions to her or his field. This award highlights a highly-productive faculty member with a steep upward trajectory in research and widening national and international impact.

Hauenstein was graduated summa cum laude from the University of Findlay with a B.S. in Mathematics. He earned an M.S. in Mathematics from Miami University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. He was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics in 2014. He was promoted to Associate Profesor in 2015 and to Full Professor in 2019. Hauenstein is an internationally recognized scientist. 

Hauenstein’s work is centered in numerical algebraic geometry, i.e., on the numerical computation and manipulation of the solution sets of systems of multivariate polynomials. These systems are ubiquitous, arising in, for example, solutions to systems of differential equations in biology, physics, and engineering. Discretizing these systems for numerical solutions often results in enormous collections of polynomials in a similarly large number of variables. The number of solutions for these systems can be larger than the number of atoms in the universe. Hauenstein has developed theoretical and numerical techniques to identify the set of physically-reasonable solutions for these systems. He was also instrumental in the development of several widely-used software packages integrating this work, aimed at a wide variety of applications. In addition to his foundational work in numerical algebraic geometry, his nearly 100 publications span topics from tumor description, to biological networks, to gauge theory.  In his short career, Professor Hauenstein has received numerous awards, including being named a Naval Research Young Investigator, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, an Army Research Office Young Investigator, and was the recipient of a DARPA Young Faculty Award.  This month, he was also named a recipient of the Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. 

Originally published by Tammi Freehling at on March 31, 2021.