BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 18, 2006 – Beate Schmittmann of Blacksburg, an internationally renowned scholar and active participant in efforts to promote leadership among women in the fields of science and engineering, has been named chair of the Physics Department in the College of Science at Virginia Tech.
Schmittmann joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1990 as an assistant professor of physics. She became an associate professor in 1991 and was promoted to full professor in 1997. She was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2004.
Schmittmann is an influential scientist in the field of theoretical condensed matter physics and has made significant contributions to the understanding of non-equilibrium phenomena. In addition, she has been instrumental in starting several important university-wide administrative practices. For the past several years, she has played a key role in AdvanceVT, an National Science Foundation funded project that is fostering changes in institutions of higher learning to promote leadership among women in science and engineering across the nation.
“Beate’s record in scholarship and administration projects a very bright future for the physics department, and under her leadership, the department will achieve the national and international distinction it deserves,” said Lay Nam Chang, dean of the College of Science. “We are particularly pleased with the fact that she is the first woman to assume this leadership in the College of Science at Virginia Tech and that as such, she will be an example for others to follow in taking up the challenge of eliminating gender inequities in these areas.”
Schmittmann received her diploma from the University of Aachen (Germany) and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom).
The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biology, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college is dedicated to fostering a research intensive environment and offers programs in many cutting edge areas, including those in nanotechnology, biological sciences, information theory and science, and supports the university’s research initiatives through the Institute for Critical Technologies and Applied Sciences, and the Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences. The College of Science also houses programs in intellectual property law and pre-medicine.