Monday, June 22, 2015

MSE mourns the loss of professor Raúl Baragiola

The Materials Science and Engineering Department was saddened to learn that Raul Baragiola, the Alice and Guy Wilson Professor of Engineering Physics and Materials Science, died Sunday June 21, 2015.

Professor Baragiola joined the University of Virginia in 1990 following positions at Rutgers University, the Bariloche Atomic Center in Argentina, and as CEO of his own computer and software engineering company.  Founder and Director of U.Va.'s Laboratory for Atomic and Surface Physics, Baragiola was a member of NASA's Cassini Mission team.

His research interests spanned astrophysics/astrochemistry,  atomic physics, solid state physics, and space sciences, atomic collisions in gases and solids, sputtering, electron and photon emission from surfaces, Auger processes, surface physics, physics of ice, plasmon excitations, dielectric breakdown and decomposition of insulators, ion beams and ion implantation, physical-chemistry of surfaces of planetary bodies and interstellar grains, and instrumentation for space research. 

Baragiola offered in one interview that he was "someone who is always looking for questions. For me, the most fascinating stage is the very first, when an idea begins to take shape, when the elements of a problem are first discovered." In his 2014 bio sketch by Eduardo Montes-Bradley, Professor Baragoila elaborated "that he liked to explain things that have not been explained before... the passion that I get if from solving mistakes."

Baragiola was a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow and Chartered Physicist of the Institute of Physics (London), and an Honorary Member of the Bömische Physical Society, Professor Baragiola, held two Argentina National Physics Prizes, and a NASA achievement award, as well as an ICACS Lifetime achievement award.