Two Named 2017 Distinguished University Professors in College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Thomas Antonsen and Catherine Fenselau received the university's highest academic honor

Thomas Antonsen and Catherine Fenselau were named 2017 Distinguished University Professors at the University of Maryland’s annual Faculty and Staff Convocation. The title of Distinguished University Professor is the highest academic honor bestowed by the university.

Thomas Antonsen. Photo courtesy of same. (Click image to download hi-res version.)Antonsen and Fenselau join more than 100 colleagues who have been named Distinguished University Professors since 1980. Distinguished University Professors are faculty members who have been recognized nationally and internationally for the importance of their scholarly achievements. UMD’s president, along with a committee composed of the Provost and seven faculty members—including several Distinguished University Professors—from diverse disciplines select the honorees each year. 

Thomas M. Antonsen Jr. is a Distinguished University Professor with joint appointments in the Department of Physics, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics. Antonsen joined UMD in 1980 as a research associate in the Laboratory for Plasma and Fusion Energy Studies. He became an associate professor in 1984 and a professor in 1989. Antonsen also served as acting director of the Institute for Plasma Research at UMD from 1998 to 2000. 

Antonsen has made fundamental contributions in the fields of plasma physics, charged particle beam research and nonlinear dynamics. His work has applications in the international efforts toward achieving magnetically confined controlled nuclear fusion and toward developing a new generation of plasma-based particle accelerators. Antonsen has also developed a widely adopted set of software codes for designing and simulating devices that produce intense microwaves for plasma heating, radar and communications applications. 

In addition to serving on the editorial boards of the journals Physical Review Letters and The Physics of Fluids, Antonsen authored or co-authored over 400 journal articles and co-authored the book “Principles of Free-electron Lasers.” Antonsen received the Department of Defense Robert L. Woods Award for excellence in vacuum electronics technology in 1999, the IEEE Plasma Science and Applications Award in 2003, the UMD Clark School of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Research Award in 2004, and the IEEE John R. Pierce Award for Excellence in Vacuum Electronics in 2016.

Antonsen is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and IEEE. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University.

Catherine Fenselau (center) receiving her award from UMD President Wallace D. Loh (left) and UMD Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin (right) at the 2017 Faculty and Staff Convocation. Photo: Lisa Helfert (Click image to download hi-res version.)Catherine Fenselau, a Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, joined UMD as a professor in 1998. A bioanalytical chemist, Fenselau has exploited mass spectrometry to work on a series of important problems in biochemistry and pharmacology, particularly methods that rapidly find and identify microorganisms. Fenselau’s mass spectrometry-based strategy is now used in clinical diagnosis, threat detection, and food and water safety around the globe. In addition, Fenselau was an early leader in applying mass spectrometry to protein identification and quantitation, which contributed to the development of proteomics. Fenselau has also published groundbreaking work in the characterization and quantitation of the complex chemical products of phase II drug metabolism. Her laboratory currently studies extracellular chemical messages in the tumor microenvironment.

During her career, Fenselau has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 40 book chapters. She received the American Chemical Society’s Garvan Medal in 1985, the Maryland Chemist of the Year Award in 1989, and the Field & Franklin Award for Contributions in Mass Spectrometry in 2008. In 2009, Fenselau received the Thomson Medal from the International Mass Spectrometry Foundation. She also received the Ralph N. Adams Award in Bioanalytical Chemistry in 2010, the Distinguished Contribution Award from the American Society for Mass Spectrometry in 2012 and the Association for Mass Spectrometry: Applications to the Clinical Laboratory’s Distinguished Contribution Award in 2017.

Fenselau is a fellow of the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She earned her A.B. in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Stanford University.

About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 8,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and nine interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $250 million.