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First recipients of new KU scholarship named

Friday, October 31, 2014

LAWRENCE – Two University of Kansas juniors have been named the first Gene R. Feaster Physics Scholars.

Emily Ann Smith, majoring in physics and interdisciplinary computing, and Daniel Rhodes, majoring in physics, were awarded the scholarship for the 2014-’15 academic year. The scholarship covers tuition costs for one year for each recipient.

The scholarship was established by alumnus Gene Feaster, who invented a medical device called Superflab that is used in radiology clinics across the country. Feaster also established a scholarship and a professorship in the School of Nursing, in honor of his late wife. Feaster, who lives in Leawood, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1940 and doctorate in physics in 1953, both from KU.

Feaster led a two-pronged career, the first in radiation physics. He began at the Radio Corporation of America, then continued at Westinghouse and Corning Glass. At Westinghouse, he was twice named Inventor of the Year; he holds 10 U.S. patents. He began the second part of his career by studying medical physics at the University of Virginia. This led him in 1977 to KU Medical Center, where he taught radiation therapy to students in nursing and radiology until his 1992 retirement.

About the recipients

Daniel Rhodes is the son of Chris and Alma Rhodes of Oskaloosa. Rhodes’ primary research interest is in nuclear physics, and he is currently working on a project with a professor involving the polarization of Upsilons. Outside of physics, he is interested in the Persian language, which he has been studying for the past three years. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he plans to attend graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in physics and possibly a doctorate. He is planning for a career in research once he completes his studies.

Emily Ann Smith is the daughter of Douglas and Jane Smith of Lenexa and Soldier. She has been involved in physics research for the past two years, including a summer spent abroad at CERN, located near Geneva. CERN is the home of the Large Hadron Collider where physicists collide protons at near the speed of light. Smith is a member of both the Society of Physics Students and the professional engineering fraternity, Theta Tau. She plans to attend graduate school after her graduation from KU in 2016. 

The Gene Feaster scholarship is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

The Department of Physics & Astronomy is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.


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