Fall 2012 Addison Wesley/Benjamin Cummings Mechanics Scholars, pictured with Texas A&M physicist Dr. David Toback (front row, far right).


Nearly two dozen Texas A&M University students enrolled in Physics 218 (Classical Mechanics) this past fall have been honored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy as its latest Addison Wesley/Benjamin Cummings Mechanics Scholars.

The students, selected for their top-scoring marks on a special end-of-semester "Challenge Exam" open to all Physics 218 students and covering material from all related sections taught during the fall 2012 semester, were honored Wednesday (Dec. 5) during an awards banquet in the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy.

The event featured a presentation by Dr. David Toback, professor of physics and astronomy and Thaman Professor for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, on career possibilities in physics and related fields. Each student was presented with a certificate commemorating their accomplishments by Dr. George R. Welch, professor and head of the department.

This semester's top four performers -- Andrew Kostrzewa (first), Jacob Shaw (second) and Andrew Baxter and Jose Roberto Dimas Valle (tie for third) -- also received copies of the Physics 208 textbook, "Young and Freedman, Volume II," (valued at around $90) as well as monetary awards ($200 for first place, $100 for second and third) to be used toward academics.

Although considered one of the department's toughest physics courses, Physics 218 routinely attracts about 1,500 students across its eight sections each fall semester and about 800 in the spring, according to Toback.

The event is part of the Mechanics Scholar Program, founded by the department in 2002 to celebrate the best students in Physics 218 and encourage career exploration in physics.

Click here for more information on the program, including requirements and lists of past winners.


Contact: Dr. David Toback, (979) 845-1179 or toback@tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • The top fall 2012 Mechanics Scholars: (from left) Jose Roberto Dimas Valle and Andrew Baxter (tie for third), Andrew Kostrzewa (1st), Department Head George Welch, Jacob Shaw (2nd) and professor/organizer David Toback.

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