Paul Mantica Awarded University Distinguished Professorship

Paul Mantica, Professor of Chemistry and Associate Director for Operations, was among the 10 people recently awarded a University Distinguished Professorship from Michigan State University. Given in recognition of achievements in the classroom, laboratory and community, the award is among the highest honors that can be bestowed on a faculty member by the university.

Recommended by MSU President Lou Anna K Simon and approved by the MSU Board of Trustees, all Distinguished Professorships come with an additional $5,000 annual stipend to support professional activities.

Paul’s research focuses on using beta-assisted Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (β-NMR) spectroscopy to deduce ground state moments to track such changes in short-lived, radioactive nuclei produced at NSCL. He is involved in the BECOLA end-line station, capable of spin-polarizing beam lines in a controlled way via laser optical pumping at low velocities (< 60 keV).

Having an appointment in chemistry, Paul has taught classes ranging from physical chemistry labs to project management courses for graduate students to his favorite – teaching hundreds of fresh, eager freshmen majoring in chemistry.

Aside from his involvement in the classroom at MSU, Paul also plays a large role in many students’ lives outside of East Lansing through the Department of Energy’s Nuclear and Radiochemistry Summer School program. As National Director of the program, he recruits students for the class and goes to the camps to lecture. The program is intended as a “boot camp” in nuclear chemistry for college students who might not otherwise have access to a similar experience in the hopes of convincing them to enter the field.

And it must be successful, as several graduate students at NSCL alone are products of the program.

For all of his success at NSCL since his appointment in 1995, Mantica is quick to place the credit on the rest of the lab.

“I appreciate all the support I’ve been given since I’ve been here. People just want to help you succeed,” says Mantica. “People usually say that you are who you make yourself to be, but I am who I am because of the people I’m surrounded by.”