Sara Sutcliffe

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

President Barack Obama awarded chemistry professor Allen Bard with the Enrico Fermi Award, a $50,000 prize he will share with Andrew Sessler, director emeritus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. The award, which honors distinguished research in energy science and technology over the course of a scientist’s career, is given through the U.S. Department of Energy and was announced Monday.

Chemistry professor Jonathan Sessler, whose father won the award alongside Bard, said Bard has made an impression on him since his early days at UT.

“I have admired Al Bard since I first arrived at UT in 1984. He was already famous back then,” Sessler said. “He remains one of my true heroes: a scientist’s scientist.”

Electrochemistry is the combined study of various kinds of energy, chemicals and electrical systems. Bard said electrochemistry is necessary for creating many complex chemicals that are a vital component of many modern devices.

“[Electrochemistry is] used widely to obtain a lot of chemicals that you can’t make because they don’t occur naturally in nature, like chlorine and aluminum,” Bard said. “All the batteries we have today are made through electrochemical systems.”

Chemistry lecturer Sara Sutcliffe, who was a student of Bard’s in the ’90s, said Bard has always been a memorable and thoughtful instructor.

“I took his class called ‘Electronics for Scientists’ and it was a wonderful experience I will never forget,” Sutcliffe said. “He was patient and would take the time to really help you.”

Sutcliffe said she recalls a particular lesson in which Bard wanted to emphasize the importance of caution. According to Sutcliffe, Bard brought a television into class one day, adjusted the television’s wires and then touched one of them with a screwdriver, producing sparks, smoke and a powerful smell.

“He got the reaction out of the class he wanted,” Sutcliffe said.

Chemistry graduate student Michelle Robinson said Bard’s award speaks to the quality of researchers at the University.

“As a graduate student in the department of chemistry, having a recipient of the Enrico Fermi award is very exciting,” Robinson said. “It enhances the reputation of the department.”

After releasing information about the suspect involved in the false alarms that evacuated 8 campus buildings on Monday, UTPD has posted pictures of the suspect on Facebook in an effort to bring the suspect into custody (Photo courtesy of UT Police Department).

The UT Police Department is still looking for the man who disrupted campus by pulling fire alarms in eight campus buildings Monday.

UT spokesperson Cindy Posey said the false alarms resulted in evacuations on the north and south sides of campus for about two hours. UTPD posted pictures of a suspect on Facebook Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, Posey released information about the suspect: a 5-feet-5-inches tall man, 180 pounds with short black hair.

Chemistry lecturer Sara Sutcliffe said the alarm did not impact her much because she had 10 minutes of office hours left in Welch Hall when the fire alarm was activated.

“It just irritates me that somebody is going to use something which is meant for a serious purpose in a flippant way like this,” Sutcliffe said.

Sutcliffe, who also is a volunteer firefighter, also said because lab experiments occasionally set off alarms, the evacuation of her building proceeded fairly smoothly. She said she took it seriously because Welch Hall has almost burned down before. In October 1996, a postdoctoral research project resulted in a fire on the fifth floor of the building, according to an article in the Victoria Advocate.

Devon Rooks, a psychology and sociology freshman, said he evacuated from the Texas Union as a result of the alarm-pulling spree. Rooks, who was getting lunch, said at first he did not take the alarm seriously.

“But then a message came on and [it] was like ‘No, something is going on. You need to get out,’” Rooks said.

Rooks said he made it out with his lunch and backpack, but there were people behind him who had to evacuate before they could get their food. Overall, Rooks said he was satisfied with UTPD and Austin Fire Department’s response.

“By the time that I got out of my class, people were already back at the Union,” he said. “And by the time I checked my email after class, the UT police were like ‘Hey, this is what happened.’”

UT police sent out a description of the suspect Monday at 4:51 p.m. Undeclared freshman Shanzeh Mohammed also said she was satisfied with UTPD’s response, and her calculus class was allowed back into Calhoun Hall about eight minutes after the fire alarm was pulled at approximately 2:20 p.m.

Mohammed said she has one question for the uncaught prankster: “Why?” As of press time, UTPD said they still had made no arrests and need witnesses to step forward. They may be contacted at 512-471-4441.