Prof. Kolata retirement celebration

Author: Shelly Goethals





On Friday, December 6, the Department of Physics celebrated the career of one of our distinguished faculty members with a symposium entitled “Trajectories: A symposium in celebration of the career of Prof. James J. Kolata”.

Prof. Kolata joined the Department of Physics faculty in 1977, after spending five years as a research scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Prior to that he held positions at the Naval Research Lab and at the University of Pittsburgh, having done his Ph.D. at Michigan State University. His research is in the area of experimental nuclear physics, and among his many other accomplishments, he is responsible for building at Notre Dame the first radioactive beam facility in the U.S. Prof. Kolata is retiring at the end of 2013.

The symposium opened with a welcome and overview of the history of the Nuclear Science Laboratory (NSL) by Prof. Michael Wiescher, Friemann Professor and Director of the NSL. After tours of the labs and of Jordan Science Hall, the afternoon was filled with talks presented by Prof. Kolata’s former Ph.D. students. The featured speakers included: Larry Satkowiak, (Ph.D. 1985), Director, Non-proliferation, Safeguards & Security Programs, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Rich Vojtech (Ph.D. 1987), Principal Assistant Deputy Director, DHS, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Transformational and Applied Research Directorate; Bob Kryger (Ph.D. 1990), Managing Member and Chief Technical Officer, Scandia Citrus LLC; and Rich Tighe (Ph.D. 1992), Vice President, Business Development, Bechtel National, Inc. Many other past students of Prof. Kolata attended the event as well. 

A departmental reception was held in Nieuwland Science Hall following the talks, and then a dinner celebration took place in the Jordan Hall of Science.